Polyvinyl chloride, (IUPAC Polychloroethene) commonly abbreviated PVC, is a widely used thermoplastic polymer. In terms of revenue generated, it is one of the most valuable products of the chemical industry. Around the world, over 50% of PVC manufactured is used in construction.
As a building material, PVC is cheap, durable, and easy to assemble. In recent years, PVC has been replacing traditional building materials such as wood, concrete and clay in many areas. Polyvinyl chloride is used in a variety of applications. As a hard plastic, it is used as vinyl siding, magnetic stripe cards, window profiles, gramophone records (which is the source of the term vinyl records), pipe, plumbing and conduit fixtures. The material is often used in Plastic Pressure Pipe Systems for pipelines in the water and sewer industries because of its inexpensive nature and flexibility.
PVC pipe plumbing is typically white, as opposed to ABS, which is commonly available in grey and black, as well as white. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely-used being phthalates. In this form, it is used in clothing and upholstery, and to make flexible hoses and tubing, flooring, to roofing membranes, and electrical cable insulation.