Plastics and Sustainable Piping Systems


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The high volatility of VCM leads to a rapid transfer from water into the atmosphere, where VCM does degrade by reaction with photochemically produced substances naturally present in the atmosphere.

Plastic Piping Systems

This limits its half-life of VCM in the atmosphere to between a few hours and a few days. VCM is therefore not persistent in the environment. Microbial growth: PVC-U and PVC-C pipes are known to perform very well indeed according to the different methods used in Europe for the assessment of microbial growth of products in contact with drinking water Germany, United Kingdom and The Netherlands.

Many field studies confirm this good behaviour, which is linked to the absence of migration and the very good surface properties of these piping systems. In addition, EN is used for organoleptic assessment of water in storage systems. Apart from these standardisation initiatives, a European positive list for substances used in plastics materials in contact with drinking water is also under development.


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This harmonised EU positive list will eventually replace several existing national drinking water positive lists. Across Europe, with some exceptions like the Netherlands and Denmark where ground water is exclusively used, chlorination of drinking water is a common way of avoiding the presence of pathogenic bacteria and to ensure that EU member states conform to the EU Drinking Water Directive. Although chlorine can affect the taste and odour of water, it has long been considered as the best way to provide safe water at the tap.

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The concentrations used in Europe are calculated so that the remaining chlorine at the tap is in the order of 0. PVC pipes have excellent resistance to chemical attack which make them particularly suitable for a wide range of applications. In normal civil engineering applications PVC push-fit pipes are not subject to chemical attack.

In contaminated ground or specific foul water and industrial systems, they are highly resistant to strong acids, alkalis and surfactants. They can be used in the presence of sulphuric acid which often exists in abnormal conditions relating to sewerage systems. PVC piping systems are used in industrial applications for their excellent chemical resistance.

However, sealing rings are not recommended for these applications and solvent cemented joints are preferred. PVC is resistant to most oils, fats, alcohols and petrol, but some petrol-based fuels containing benzene cause swelling.

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PVC is suitable for use in contact with aliphatic hydrocarbons, but aromatic hydrocarbons can cause unacceptable swelling, even by absorption from the vapour phase [1]. PVC is resistant to all but the most severe oxidising conditions. Hydrogen peroxide at all concentrations has no effect, and even concentrated solutions of oxidising salts such as potassium permanganate cause only superficial attack. PVC is generally unsuitable for use in contact with aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, ketones, nitro compounds, esters and cyclic ethers, which penetrate the PVC causing marked swelling and softening.

These penetrating solvents may be harmful to PVC even when diluted, but, when they are diluted, their effects fall off noticeably and, at very low concentrations such as are present in many effluents, can be handled safely. All plastic materials submitted to a constant load undergo a progressive deformation over time. This phenomenon, caused by the displacement of molecular chains among themselves, is commonly called creep. This phenomenon depends principally on the type of plastic, its molecular structure, the operating temperature and time it can for example take several hundred years for PVC pressure pipes to fail as a result of creep.

For non-pressure pipes, standards describe the relationship between short-term and long-term creep: this is called the Creep Ratio [1]. This ratio is also used in designing plastic pipes. Among plastic pipes, PVC pipes have the lowest creep ratio. As an example, in the European project for structured wall pipe standards [2] , the ratios demanded for different materials are: PVC -U A lower creep ratio indicates that in the long term, the material maintains similar properties to those it initially had.


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  5. As a result of the combination of the following characteristics, PVC is generally the most efficient, quick installing and cost-effective of all the spectrum of solutions for piping. Lightweight: PVC pipes are light and easy to handle up to 6 m length , significantly reducing the need for mechanical support for placing and fixing the pipes together, leading to a cost efficient installation.

    Joints: PVC piping systems can be installed with different types of joints: solvent cement joints and push-fit joints. Across Europe , push-fit joints are usually preferred for municipal installations.

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    The use of push-fit joints is a very important characteristic as it not only assures a watertight, safe and durable union, but permits a fast and simple mounting, an important cost saving during installation, as it avoids using complex welding operations and costly investments in sophisticated equipment and specialised skills. Fittings and special operations: PVC pipe systems are normally completed with the widest range of fittings and ancillary products, allowing a modular installation and high quality of the full network.

    When finishing work has to be done by hand For example making holes, installing saddles and cuts in the pipes , rigid PVC is easy to work with, and does not need complex tools or special expertise. Since the acceptance of the concept of Sustainable Development SD world conferences of Rio de Janeiro and others it became accepted that SD is based on three pillars, namely ecology, economy and society.

    The environmental impact of PVC products has been investigated in numerous studies, quantified in many life cycle analyses and compared many times to products made from alternative materials. The latest and most comprehensive study was a Review commissioned by the EU [1].

    PVC pipe standards

    It showed PVC products to be comparable to alternatives in their environmental impact. The strongest aspects of PVC products are performance and cost; PVC products are amongst the lowest cost products for a given performance. Low cost products can positively contribute to all areas of SD: Low cost products save scarce money, so they are favourable to a sustainable economic development. Low cost products are more affordable to socially disadvantaged people, not only in industrialised but more so in developing countries and the money saved can be used to optimise social development.

    Both points are favourable to sustainable social development. The money saved by low cost products can be used to optimise ecological development, so they are favourable to sustainable ecological development too. The huge potential impact of low cost products made from PVC can be shown easily: With only 0. Investing this small amount of money into environmental improvements allows it to create products which are much better in these important environmental categories than all alternatives.

    Go to full FAQ. Why use PVC in piping systems? Discover why PVC is a preferred material for piping systems everywhere in the world. But it is important in assessing the overall energy efficiency of the piping system. Due to their much lighter weight, plastic materials exhibit a distinct advantage over metal pipes in this respect.

    concerneddentalplan.com/vyduz-cartas-tarot.php The total energy consumption to manufacture metal pipes required for the piping system of, for instance, a family housing complex is significantly higher than for plastic piping systems. This was due to its superior internal pressure performance, permitting the utilisation of pipes with smaller wall thickness.

    Two considerations should be taken into account with respect to the applicational life expectancy of a piping installation. First of all, the lifetime of a system delays the need for replacement, and this assists the reduction of environmental impact on a time-dependent scale.


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    Secondly, when a material has completed its useful applicational life, its environmental impact is also reduced if it can be recycled. Both metal and polyolefin thermoplastics, including Polybutene-1, can be recycled. However, since the plastic piping systems are expected by standards accreditation to provide a service life in excess of 50 years, it is difficult to reliably predict the environmental impact of recycling on such an extended timescale. Home Environment Eco Impact. PB-1 Piping Systems Eco Impact The impact a piping material has on the environment in terms of emissions into the atmosphere, soil and water, landscape scarring, and the potential for extended service life and recycling is assessed in cradle-to-grave environmental impact studies.

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    Product Life Impact. Total environmental impact study The total impact a material has on the environment from material and product manufacture to usage in its intended markets, to recycling, is assessed in what is known as a 'cradle to grave' study. Such a study was conducted by the Technical University of Berlin on various drinking water pipe installation systems, including metals: galvanised steel and copper, and plastics: Polybutene-1 PB-1 , cross-linked polyethylene PE-X , polypropylene PP-R , and chlorinated polyvinylchloride PVC-C.

    Raw materials sourcing Ore mining of metals, which is predominantly open cast mining, results in a lasting scar on the landscape. Raw materials processing In contrast to metals refining, plastics polymerisation processes are essentially fully integrated, generating very low emissions.

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