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Thermoplastics - Physical Properties

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

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Typical properties of some common thermoplastics:

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ThermoplasticSpecific Gravity
- SG -
Tensile Yield Strength
- σy -
(103 psi)
Tensile Modulus
- E -
(103 psi)
Coefficient of
Linear Expansion

- α -
(10-6 in/in oF)
Thermal Conductivity
- k -
(Btu in /ft2 h oF)
Specific Heat
- c -
(Btu/lb oF)
Maximum Temperature Limit
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)
  • 1 (Btu/lb oF) = 4,186.8 (J/kg K) = 1 (kcal/kg oC)
  • 1 in/(in oF) = 1.8 m/(m oC)
  • 1 Btu/(lbm oF) = 4186.8 J/ (kg K) = 1 kcal/(kg oC)
  • 1 GPa = 109 Pa
  • 1 MPa = 106 Pa 

Tensile Yield Strength - σy

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 - σu

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

Tensile Modulus - or Young's Modulus - E

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 usable 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
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