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Email: sales@copely.com

Copely Developments Ltd
Thurmaston Lane,
Leicester,
LE4 9HU

PU vs PVC: Which is Best for Your Application?

Both polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are popular choices when it comes to the making and manufacturing of hose. But what exactly are the differences between the two? Which would be best suited to your application?

pvc vs pu recycled plastic

What is PU and PVC?

Polyurethane (also known as PU) is a common material used in the manufacturing of hoses and tubes. It has a number of resistant properties (e.g. abrasion resistance, temperature resistance, etc.) that make it one of the more popular materials to be used. To find out more about polyurethane, you can view our detailed guide here.

Polyvinyl chloride (also known as PVC) is arguable the most popular choice for hose/tube manufacturing and design. PVC can have a number of properties added to it, including reinforcement, making it one of the most versatile materials used.

What are the similarities between PU and PVC?

  • Flexibility – Both PU and PVC have excellent flexibility, which is why they are the most common choices for manufacturing hoses and tubes. Their flexible properties allow them to be suited to a number of applications.
  • Kink resistance – Their flexibility also provides adequate kink resistance and minimum kink memory, helping to maintain the longevity of the hose.
  • Customization – PU and PVC are versatile materials and can be cut to specific lengths and are able to be coloured, tinted, or left transparent. Both PU and PVC can also be layered with other materials, creating new and unique hose designs.
polyurethane air hose

What are the differences between PU and PVC?

At a glance, there might not seem much difference between the two options, but there are properties that can give each material advantages over the other.

  • PU has higher abrasion resistance, particularly with applications that involve extreme temperatures. PVC can lose its flexibility in extreme cold, whilst PU is able to maintain it.
  • Hoses made of PU also tend to have a higher resistance to chemicals, oils and solvents. While some PVC hoses are capable of being oil resistant and chemical resistant, properties need to be added to make them so.
  • PVC, however, is better suited to acidic chemicals which can weaken a hose of PU material.
  • PVC is less likely to transfer odours or taste to the substance it is conveying, making it better suited for applications involving food or drinking water. PU, unless WRAS approved, is generally not suitable.
  • PU hoses are able to retain their shape for longer periods of time. PVC hoses contain a property called plasticiser, used to make it more flexible. With heavy-duty use, this property can wear away over time, making PVC more prone to cracks.
  • PVC hoses are generally cheaper than PU. They are also more common and readily available.
pvc food safe hose application

PVC or PU? Choosing the Ideal Hose

When choosing the ideal hose for your application, selecting the right material is just one of many factors that have to be considered:

PU
PVC
Flexibilty
Excellent
Excellent
Abrasion Resistance
Excellent
Good
Chemical Resistance
Excellent
Good
Oil Resistance
Excellent
Poor
Acidic Resistance
Poor
Excellent
Temperature Resistance
-40°C to +65°C
-20°C to +60°C
Odor/Taste Resistance
Poor
Excellent

Other things to consider inculde:

  • Diameter – Depending on the amount of volume an application requires; the diameter will need to be taken into account. Our products benefit from a hand, interactive table, showing the diameter for each product reference.
  • Length – Will your project require long lengths of hose or will a few metres suffice?
  • Media – What type of media will be conveyed through the hose? Will chemicals, solvents, or oils be used in applications or will the hose be used for the conveyance of food or drinking water?
  • Environment – What is the working environment like? Is the environment subject to extreme temperatures? Is it high pressure? Is it outdoors where a more heavy-duty hose would be required?

PU and PVC are versatile materials, offering many benefits, making them two of the top choices when it comes to hose design and manufacturing. We offer a wide variety of PU hoses and PVC hoses, suited to a number of different applications. If you would like to find more out PU and its properties, you can do so here.

If you have any queries regarding our products, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at sales@copely.com.

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