CPVC: Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Piping

Alexander_BarthetCPVC Information

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Piping

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride PipingChlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is similar to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Simply put, CPVC is PVC with additional chlorine added. Commonly, CPVC has 63{0020d42121ce9ee8372fc2191e9b67512146412db867aa4c51cd1841d7c3dde1} to 69{0020d42121ce9ee8372fc2191e9b67512146412db867aa4c51cd1841d7c3dde1} chlorine by mass while PVC has approximately 57{0020d42121ce9ee8372fc2191e9b67512146412db867aa4c51cd1841d7c3dde1} chlorine. Both CPVC and PVC are long-chain polymers which means they are made from long strings or chains of atoms. The length of the strings or chains determines many of the properties, but so does the arrangement of the atoms.  In both PVC and CPVC polymers, chlorine is added to the sides of the chain, not to the length, causing changes in the properties, including an increase in the resistance of the resulting material to high temperature and improving the chemical resistance above that of PVC.


CPVC piping was first used in 1959 in industrial buildings for process chemicals.  In the 1980’s CPVC piping was first used in residential and commercial buildings for hot and cold water plumbing service and for fire sprinkler systems.  CPVC has been used as an alternative to traditional metallic piping systems because it doesn’t corrode like metal and is less costly than metallic piping.  CPVC piping is manufactured in straight sections up to 20 feet in length and in sizes from 1/4 inch up to 24 inches in diameter.  The straight lengths of piping are joined together using CPVC molded fittings.  Solvent cement is applied at the joints during installation, which chemically fuses the piping to the fittings.  The piping can be easily cut with hand or power tools and is relatively light weight, allowing for easier transport and simpler installation than metallic piping.  Installation of CPVC piping is simpler and quicker than metallic piping which requires less skill and permits increased speed, thereby lowering installation costs.   Since the 1980s, CPVC piping has been used successfully in millions of buildings throughout the United States.

This article was provided by James Mason, Ph.D., P.E. and Jeffrey Bradshaw, P.E., both with Rimkus Consulting Group, one of the world’s foremost forensic engineering and consulting firms with 46 offices across the U.S. and Europe.

Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.