Thermoplastics - Physical Properties

Physical properties of some common thermoplastics - ABS, PVC, CPVC, PE, PEX, PB and PVDF

Typical values of some common thermoplastics can be found in the table below.

Thermoplastic Specific Gravity Tensile Yield Strength
(103 psi)
Tensile Modulus
(103 psi)
Coefficients of
Linear Expansion

(106 in/in oF)
Thermal Conductivity
(Btu in /h ft2 oF)
Specific Heat
(Btu/lb oF)
Maximum Temperature Limit
(oF/oC)
ABS 1.08 7.0 340 60 1.35 0.34 180/80
PVC 1.4 8.0 410 30 1.1 0.25 150/65
CPVC 1.54 8.0 420 35 1.0 0.20 210/100
PE 0.95 3.2 120 90 3.2 0.55 160/70
PEX 0.94 2.8 . 90 3.2 0.55 210/100
PB 0.92 4.2 55 72 1.5 0.45 210/100
PVDF 1.76 7.0 220 70 1.5 0.29 300/150
  • 1 psi (lb/in2) = 6,894.8 Pa (N/m2) - Note! You can use the pressure unit converter on this page to switch to Pa (N/m2) units.
  • 1 (Btu/lb oF) = 4,186.8 (J/kg K) = 1 (kcal/kg oC)

Tensile Yield Strength

Tensile yield strength is the maximum engineering stress in psi (or Pa) at which a permanent non-elastic deformation of the thermoplastic material begins.

Yield Point

Yield point is the first point where the specimen yields, where the specimen's cross-sectional area begins to contract significantly, or where the strain can increase without increase in the stress.

Ultimate Tensile Strength

Ultimate tensile strength is the maximum stress the thermoplastic material can withstand before failing, whichever occurs at the higher stress level.

Tensile Modulus

Tensile modulus or Young's Modulus is the ratio of stress to strain within the elastic region of the stress-strain curve before the yield point.

Thermoplastic Characteristics

ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

  • strong and rigid
  • resistant to a variety of bases and acids
  • some solvents and chlorinated hydrocarbons may damage the material
  • maximum usable temperature 160oF (71oC)
  • common as DEV - Drainage, Waste and Vent - pipes

PB - Polybutylene

  • flexible pipe
  • used for pressurized water systems
  • usable for hot and cold water
  • only compression and banded type joints used

PE - Polyethylene

  • flexible pipe
  • used for pressurized water systems - sprinkler..
  • not usable for hot water

PEX - Polyethylene Cross Linked

  • flexible pipe
  • used for pressurized water systems - sprinkler..

PP - Polypropylene

  • lightweight
  • temperature up to 180oF (82oC)
  • highly resistant to acids, bases and many solvents
  • usable in laboratory plumbing

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride

  • strong and rigid
  • resistant to a variety of acids and bases
  • may be damaged by some solvents and chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • maximum usable temperature 140oF (60oC)
  • usable for water, gas and drainage systems
  • not useable in hot water systems

CPVC - Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride

  • similar to PVC - but designed for water up to 180oF (82oC)

PVDF - Polyvinylidene Fluoride

  • strong and very tough material
  • resistant to abrasion, acids, bases, solvents and much more
  • usable to 280oF (138oC)
  • usable in laboratory plumbing

Related Topics

  • Temperature Expansion - Thermal expansion of pipes and tubes - stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, plastics and more
  • Material Properties - Material properties - density, heat capacity, viscosity and more - for gases, fluids and solids

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