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What is the Difference between PVC and Polyurethane?

What is the Difference between PVC and Polyurethane?


Albeit no plastic tube can handle all applications universally, but PVC or polyvinyl chloride is used in widest ranges of applications. Flexible PVC tubing can be used on ranges of corrosion and chemical resistance, excellent wear and abrasion resistance, visual contact with flow, flexibility like rubber, and outstanding flow features. These features and various formulations available make PVC preferable for many uses like water transfer, chemical processing, viscous fluid handling, waster product line, beverage transfer, wet or dry food handling, dairy processing, air and gas supply, granular material conveyance, vacuum lines, spray systems, pump discharge, protective jacketing, small engine fuel lines, irrigation systems, and potable water.


The abbreviations of polyurethane are PU, PUR or TPU. Polyurethane is the best concoction of plastic and rubber. Cords made of polyurethane are referred to as polycord. It provides ultimate stretch ability or high elongation values like rubber and abrasion resistance which is much better than PVC. Polyurethane is quite flexible in nature and doesn’t use any kind of additives in order to retain its flexural properties. Integrating good chemical resistance with amazing weathering features sets polyurethane apart from other kinds of thermoplastics. The two primary formulations of urethane: ester and ether entail essential distinctions. Water attacks the ester-based urethane which causes a significant reduction in the physical features. The ether-based urethane has much better hydrolytic stability, particularly in humid settings. Ether based materials also stop the fungus growth better than the ester counterpart.

Normally, polyurethane is tackier in nature than PVC. Particularly in the case of tubing, it may stick to itself and can result in tangles. Additives can be properly combined with the polyurethane resin while the manufacturing is ongoing in order to reduce the tackiness. Material combinations like PVC/polyurethane blends can also change the features of the surface. However, PVC itself has a slipperier surface naturally than 100 percent polyurethane.

Typical polyurethane tubing applications are used in cable jacketing, pneumatic control systems, air lines, granular and powder material transfer, sleeving, fluid lines, low pressure hydraulics as well as in robotics.

Brian Brown

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