PVC is a type of polymer that’s widely used in a number of different industrial situations – mainly because it is a strong and durable material that’s relatively cheap. uPVC is frequently used for windows for this same reason. It is thought that by the middle of this decade the world will be producing over forty million tonnes per year, which gives you some idea as to how important the material is!
Un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride – otherwise known as uPVC – is the form of the material that’s most commonly used in building. If you ever see something referred to as vinyl siding then this means the same thing. Aside from windows, uPVC is used to replace many parts of a home that would otherwise be made from wood. For example, siding is sometimes made using uPVC.
There are, however, some problems with uPVC. Although it is widely used in the UK and US, there are countries in Europe who discourage it on environmental grounds. The problem is that the emissions when the product is created are thought to be damaged to the environment, and the same can be said if the material is burnt after use. Two examples of countries which take this view on uPVC are Germany and the Netherlands.
So what are the applications of PVC (not uPVC, but the more general type). PVC is used in everything from clothing to pipes, and it is an extremely important product. “Fake” leather is often made using PVC, and it has become synonymous with gothic fashion. The reason that this has happened is due to the cheap cost of PVC, which is much more affordable than leather.
PVC is also used in portable electronics, signs and pipes. In fact, it has been estimated that around half of PVC made is used for piping, as this is one of its most important uses.
As you can tell, PVC is an extremely important material that goes well beyond uPVC windows. There are some problems with the material – mainly environmental – but it’s unlikely that its production will slow down at any point in the near future.