Property modification of PVC products

PVC's high polarity and high compability with other plastics makes it possible to modify some of rigid PVC products' shortcomings.

Polymer alloying

Since PVC has a high polarity and high compatibility with a variety of other high-performance plastics, it is possible to mix these easily to form polymer alloys. In doing so, some of the shortcomings of rigid PVC products can be modified. The figure to the right shows the outline of property modification through polymer alloying.

Impact resistance

Generally, in order to improve the impact resistance of PVC products, impact modifiers (toughening agents) which have rubber-like properties such as ABS, MBS, acrylic rubber, chlorinated polyethylene or EVA, are mixed with PVC. Sufficient impact resistance for practical use can be obtained by blending 5 to 20 0 weight parts of these impact modifiers to 100 weight parts of PVC. The impact modifier in the form of micro particles is dispersed within the molecular structure of PVC. When the PVC products receive an impact, these micro particles in the molecular structure absorb the impact energy and prevent damage to the PVC product. PVC whose impact resistance is modified is used in a wide range of applications including exterior construction materials (window frames, siding), industrial boards, impact resistant water pipes, rigid PVC packaging (blister packs, caps, casings), surface protecting films, or electrical parts (connectors).

Heat distortion temperature (softening temperature)

In order to enhance the heat resistance, heat distortion temperature or softening temperature of PVC products, heat resistant resins such as ABS resins, α -methylstyrene copolymers, or after chlorinated PVC are usually blended in. The two figures show the improvement of the softening temperature by blending ABS as an example, and the improvement of thermal deformation temperature, respectively.

PVC with enhanced heat resistance is used for heat resistant rigid PVC pipes, such as hot water supply pipes or electric cable protecting tubes, and instrument panels of vehicles. On the other hand, soft PVC products with modified heat resistance can be manufactured by blending with a high-polymer plasticizer. Such products are used for heat resistant cable covering and other applications.

Prevention of plasticiser bleed and volatilisation

PVC that has plasticisers which do not migrate or bleed at high temperatures is used for electric/electronic parts and heat resistant cables. Some of the non-migrating type plasticisers are used for medical bags/tubes or industrial hoses.

In order to prevent bleeding, volatilisation or migration of plasticisers from soft PVC to other materials, plasticisers with high molecular weight or high compatibility with PVC are adopted. The figure shows an example where a polyester plasticiser with a molecular weight of 1,500 is used to replace DOP, which is a general-purpose plasticiser with a molecular weight of 390. Test pieces are placed in an oven of 160 °C and rates of weight loss are measured to represent the volatilisation of plasticisers as time elapses.

Another way to avoid bleeding, volatisation or migration is to use plasticiserfree flexible PVC products, such products composed of graft polymerised EVA (ethylene vinyl-acetate copolymer) and PVC, or a terpolymer composed of ethylene-vinyl acetate-carbon monoxide.