PVC terminology can be confusing for a lot of people, so we’ve put together an easy-to-understand glossary. Here is list of some of the more common PVC terms:
ASTM – This stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, which sets several international standards for not only PVC fittings and pipes, but also CPVC materials.
Bell End – This is a pipe that flares out at one end so another pipe can connect without a coupling. Connections are typically made by using adhesives, mechanical techniques or solvent cements.
Blister – An imperfection in a piece of plastic typically due to excessive pressure or temperature, not using enough adhesive, or not curing the material for the proper amount of time.
Compact Ball Valve – A small valve, usually made of PVC, that offers on/off functionality. It is typically inexpensive because it cannot be easily repaired or taken apart.
Conversion – The result of processing a raw material into a usable form. For example, plastic pellets are often converted into films. Conversion usually entails mixing together additives and polymers, melting and extruding them, and then shaping and solidifying to create the final product.
Coupling – A type of fitting that joins two pieces of pipe.
CPVC – Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride — it has similar resistance to chemicals and corrosion as PVC, but can tolerate a higher temperature (200 degrees Fahrenheit compared to 140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Diffusion – Movement of gas, liquid or another material through plastic.
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) – A form of rubber commonly used to seal valves and fittings made of PVC material.
Fitting – This is a portion of a pipeline used to connect sections of a pipe. It comes in a wide range of materials, sizes and shapes.
Gasket – A device used to create a watertight seal between two different surfaces.
Infiltration – The intrusion of water into a sewer system from the ground. It typically occurs due to defective connections, pipes, joints and other factors.
Injection Molding – The process of using granular or powdered plastics to make plastic products. It is typically performed by using heat and a great deal of pressure to fuse the material inside a chamber. The heated mass is then forced into a cooler area so it can solidify.
NPT (National Pipe Thread) – This is the United States standard governing tapered threads.
Operating Temperature – This is the temperature a pipe can typically tolerate and still be able to function properly. The highest operating temperature for PVC pipe is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
O-Rings – Circular gaskets commonly found in valves and fittings made of PVC. They create a watertight seal between two pieces of a plumbing system.
Pipe Dope – Slang for pipe thread sealant, the flexible material typically applied to fitting threads prior to installation. Pipe dope is designed to result in a long-lasting, watertight seal.
PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) – A measurement of the maximum amount of pressure a fitting, valve or pipe can tolerate.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – Used regularly in a wide variety of consumer and commercial products, PVC is a rigid, thermoplastic material that is chemical resistant and corrosion resistant.
Schedule 40 PVC – The “schedule” is the thickness of a pipe’s wall. Schedule 40 is the most commonly used thickness of PVC in irrigation and home projects. It is typically colored white.
Schedule 80 PVC – This is usually gray and has a thicker wall than Schedule 40. As a result, it can tolerate higher pressures and is more appropriate for industrial and commercial use.
Union – A fitting used to connect two pipes. It differs from a coupling in that it uses a gasket seal to create the connection.
Working Pressure – The amount of pressure recommended for use on a fitting, valve or pipe. It is frequently denoted in PSI.
Again, these are just some of the many common terms used by professionals in the PVC industry. If you have any questions or need further definitions, talk to a local PVC dealer.
Amanda Hill is the content manager at PVC Fittings Online, a leading supplier of PVC Supplies and accessories for commercial contractors. Amanda is known as the Queen of PVC because of her knowledge of PVC Pipes. Visit their resource center today to learn more about PVC piping.