What is upvc?

Written by Lucy Pitt on www.scienceandinventions.com   ..... you didn't think any of us were that clever did you ??!!


What is upvc?

uPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, a type of polyvinyl chloride utilised in the manufacture of uPVC doors and window frames.

Polyvinyl chloride is the world’s third most produced type of plastic after polyethylene and polypropylene.

uPVC is an extremely popular choice for the manufacture of uPVC doors and window frames because it is extremely durable, long lasting and cheap to produce. Experts estimate that by 2016 there will be more than 40 million tonnes of PVC produced.

PVC was invented by accident in the 19th century. First to make the discovery was Henri Victor Regnault and in 1872 by  Eugen Baumann. Both scientists found the polymer as a white solid within a flask of vinyl chloride which had been left in the sun.

In the early part of the 20th century both a Russian chemist called Ivan Ostromislensky and Fritz Klatte, who worked for Griesheim-Elektron, a German chemical company, attempted to use PVC in manufacturing processes, but this proved difficult as the material was brittle and hard to handle.

By 1926, Waldo Semon discovered a way to blend PVC with other additives, plasticisong it and making it easier to handle. After this PVC began to be widely used to manufacture a number of items.

Today, PVC is used to manufacture many of the world’s most essential products:


Around half of all the PVC manufactured globally is used to make pipes. PVC works well when manufactured into pipes because it is light, durable and does not react with water. In addition, pipe joints made from uPVC are impenetrable, meaning no leaks and uPVC does not corrode like metal.


PVC can be used to insulate electric cables. That’s because it’s non conductive and extremely durable and energy efficient.


Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride is commonly used in the manufacture of uPVC doors and window frames. In this form it is extremely strong, durable and long lasting. In addition to doors and windows, uPVC is also used to manufacture fascias, siding and weatherboarding.


Due to its light weight, durability and ability to be moulded and handled easily, PVC is often used in the production of commercial signage.

Clothes and furniture

PVC clothing gained popularity in the 1970’s when it became a favourite item of the punk movement. Now PVC can be manufactured into faux leather that is waterproof and hard wearing. IN addition it can be used to make garden furniture that is also extremely durable and weather resistant.