PVC vs PVCu – What’s the difference?

PVC and PVCu are two common plastic polymers for use in everyday life, but some people are unaware they these polymers have many similarities but are also very different in the properties that they hold.


PVC is the most commonly used thermoplastic in everyday life; most people will have heard of this polymer. It is also known by its full name: Polyvinyl Chloride.

This polymer is naturally derived from salt and oil; however, this plastic is less dependent on substances like crude oil compared to other polymers which are why PVC is a ‘natural resource’.

The PVC resin is normally supplied in a powder form which is resistant to oxidisation and allows the easy storage of the product. The polymer is usually a white and brittle plastic when it has formed.

Commonly PVC is used for:

  • Cable Insulation.
  • Clothes.
  • Toys.
  • Window Trims and Seals.


PVCu is essentially unplasticised PVC because there is no plasticiser added in the process for this polymer –  this is where the ‘u’ comes from in the name.

The full name for this product is Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride. As there is no plasticiser added to this plastic it means that this product is far more rigid than the PVC material, it is hard and will not flex at all.

It does not contain any phthalates or BPA which makes this plastic far safer than many other similar plastics.

Commonly PVCu is used for:

  • Window Frames.
  • Water Pipes.
  • Sewage Lines.
  • Drainage Systems.

What are the differences?

Although there is only a small difference in the production process of these plastics, they hold very different properties.

The main difference between these plastics is the flexibility of them. PVC is extremely flexible and malleable as a plastic which can be useful for a whole range of products. On the other hand, PVCu is not flexible at all and is an extremely rigid plastic.

How are they similar?

Both Polyvinyl Chloride and Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride are very durable plastics. This is a great property for the production of these plastics and makes them fairly desirable materials to use.

Another benefit is that they are both actually recyclable, they can be melted down and reshaped to be used for a completely different product.

Posted on by Rayda Plastics | This entry was posted in Plastic Properties. Bookmark the permalink.

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