PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a common thermoplastic and has uses in a variety of applications. Knowledge of its properties is important in understanding if PVC has the strength for use in a specific application. Key mechanical properties include tensile, flex, compression and impact. Numerous grades of PVC have a range of properties available for some properties.
Tensile strength is the strength of PVC against pulling forces. PVC typically has a tensile strength of 7,300 psi. PVC also has an associated tensile modulus, which is the ratio between the tensile stress per unit area of the cross section and the elongation in the direction of the tensile stress. PVC tensile moduli range from 3.5 to 10 psi.
The flexural strength, or bending strength, of PVC can range from 4,000 to 14,100 psi. An associated flex modulus can range from 3 to 8 psi. As with the tensile modulus, the flex modulus is the ratio between the flex stress per unit area of the cross section and the bending that occurs under stress.
Compression could be considered the opposite of tensile, as it is the strength against forces pushing on the plastic rather than pulling. A weight or a load can put a part under compression. PVC compression strength is usually in a range from 7,250 to 8,120 psi.
Impact refers to the strength of a material when struck by an object. It is intended to help indicate how likely a part is to crack or break when struck. PVC has an impact strength that ranges from 0.4 to 20 foot pounds per inch.