Polyfab Plastic Industry LLC is a leading manufacturer of sustainable and superior-quality plastic pipes and piping solutions in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East. As part of our commitment to provide reliable, end-to-end plastic piping solutions in the UAE, we are happy to answer any piping-related questions you might have to help you achieve superior results in your projects.
Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about PVC and HDPE pipes.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are two of the most common types of plastic pipes. A U.S. Trenchless Technology survey even showed PVC and HDPE as the top two choices by sewer system operators and engineers in most piping categories.
PVC and HDPE are used in a wide range of applications. PVC is used in plumbing and drinking water supply lines, above-ground and below-ground drainage, ventilation and exhaust systems, and electrical cable insulation.
HDPE pipes have long been used in gas, oil, and mining operations. They can transport potable water, wastewater, chemicals, slurries, compressed gases, and hazardous wastes. They are also used in firefighting, drainage, and ducting applications.
Polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipes and fittings are made by combining chlorine (usually derived from salt) with ethylene (typically derived from oil-based hydrocarbon feedstock) to produce vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). This monomer is turned into polyvinyl chloride through a polymerization process involving heat, pressure, and the action of a catalyst
High-density polyethylene or HDPE pipes and fittings, meanwhile, are made through petroleum cracking, a process that involves the application of intense heat. This creates ethylene gas molecules. Upon the application of a catalyst, the carbon atoms in the ethylene molecules form a chain, producing the polymer polyethylene.
Which type of pipe (HDPE or PVC) is best depends on the application. In some cases, PVC is better, while in others, HDPE is the better choice. That said, HDPE and PVC are both excellent materials for infrastructure and construction because of their inertness (which means they won’t react to most chemicals), exceptional durability, and outstanding resistance to corrosion and the buildup of biological and chemical contaminants.
Generally speaking, HDPE is softer and more flexible than PVC. Therefore, HDPE is better for lower-pressure applications and tight-bending radius installations. HDPE, while having a lower static water pressure class than PVC, also has a higher resistance to water hammer and fatigue. That said, PVC is stiffer and tougher than HDPE. As such, PVC pipes may be the better option for direct burial installation.
The stiffness or rigidity of PVC pipes makes them versatile enough for direct connections with non-PVC and non-plastic materials. For instance, you can connect a PVC pipe directly with a copper water valve. HDPE pipes, meanwhile, cannot make such direct connections; you must use a stiffening ring or a similar adapter to connect HDPE pipes to non-plastic components.
That said, HDPE joints have better integrity than PVC joints. PVC joints are prone to leaking, especially for connections made to non-plastic components. In contrast, HDPE pipes can be fused (e.g., electrofusion, butt fusion), allowing one to create a monolithic, leak-free pipe string that may be pulled along in horizontal directional drilling, slip lining, and other trenchless installation strategies.
Plastic pipes and plastic piping accessories may be better than metal pipes in most cases, particularly in plumbing, sewer systems, and gas and mining applications. There are several reasons for this. Plastic pipes are corrosion-resistant, chemically inert, lightweight, and very durable. These characteristics give plastic pipes a number of advantages over metal pipes.
For one, plastic pipes won’t rust. They are chemically inert, so they can withstand most acids, bases, and salts. In contrast, chemical pipes are prone to corrosion from the outside and inside. Over time, corrosion inside metal pipes can lead to contamination, which can, in turn, lead to fixture damage and even safety issues. In severe cases, corrosion can cause pipes to burst.
Plastic pipes are also lightweight and easier to work with than metal pipes. Thus, one needs fewer personnel to install plastic pipes, which means lower installation costs. Additionally, plastic pipes cost less than metal pipes, with PVC being one of the most inexpensive piping materials around.
What is the lifespan of PVC pipes? According to the Water Research Foundation, properly designed and correctly installed PVC pipes can easily last 100 years and longer. How about HDPE pipes; how long will HDPE pipes last? HDPE pipes also have an estimated service life of 100 years.
In short, both PVC pipes and HDPE pipes can be expected to last 100 years or more in service. Of course, this general figure can become shorter or longer depending on the actual application, service conditions (including ultraviolet radiation exposure, soil and traffic load, weather conditions), and specific (as manufactured) pipe capacity.
Polyfab Plastic Industry LLC is the preferred provider in the UAE for projects that require plastic piping, fusion machines, and expert on-site plastic pipe installation support. Established in 2005, the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ajman has its own product development and prototyping team as well as an in-house testing laboratory to ensure our piping systems comply with relevant international standards.
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