Product Comparison PVC vs. Polyurethane
Our PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polyurethane (sometimes abbreviated as PU) are thermoplastic materials that can be formed into a variety of shapes, including tubing and reinforced hose. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks.
While no single plastic tubing material can meet every application requirement, PVC meets many needs. It provides a broad range of chemical and corrosion resistance, excellent abrasion and wear resistance, outstanding flow characteristics, and rubber-like flexibility. Unreinforced PVC tubing, as compared with reinforced hose, offers glass-like clarity as well. Applications include food and beverage lines, dairy processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, general industrial uses, chemical conveyance, protective jacketing, air and gas supply, and many others.
Some of PVC’s disadvantages are that it may harden and become less pliable when certain fluids (concentrated acids and alkalis, for example) are transferred through it. Typical PVC tubing does not react well with fuels and oils (again, the tubing will harden), although special PVC formulations are available for this application.
Polyurethane combines some of the best properties of rubber and plastic. It offers abrasion resistance like PVC and high elongation values (stretch-ability) like rubber. Polyurethane is naturally flexible and does not need any additives to retain its flexural properties.
Good chemical resistance combined with excellent weathering characteristics sets polyurethane apart from most other thermoplastics. It has exceptional resistance to most gasolines, oils, kerosene, and other petroleum-based products. Two polyurethane formulations are availableether and ester. Ether polyurethane performs much better than ester in humid applications. Water will, in fact, attack ester polyurethane and greatly reduce its performance. Ester is also less resistant to fungus growth.
Applications for polyurethane tubing and hose include grease and lubrication lines, small motor fuel lines, pneumatic control systems, granular transfer, robotics, and more.
Both PVC and polyurethane may be colored or customized in a number of ways: heat formed into shapes, thermally bonded, overbraided for increased pressure and/or heat resistance, manufactured in harder or softer durometers. Tubing and hose can also be cut into specified lengths or made in custom sizes.
Some important differences between the two materials include low temperature use (PVC can be used at temperatures approaching 50°F, while polyurethane can handle those near 95°F), the transfer of odors or taste to products flowing within (PVC is odorless and tasteless; polyurethane is not), and weather resistant properties (PVC may harden and discolor when exposed to certain conditions, while polyurethane handles outdoor applications well). PVC generally costs less than polyurethane.
Click here to request a copy of NewAge Industries’ PVC-Polyurethane Comparison Chart.
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