Difference Between PVC and Vinyl

PVC vs Vinyl

Polymers are large molecules, which has the same structural unit repeating over and over. The repeating units are called monomers. These monomers are bonded to each other with covalent bonds to form a polymer. They have a high molecular weight and consist over 10,000 atoms. In the synthesis process, which is known as polymerization, longer polymer chains are obtained. There are two main types of polymers depending on their synthesis methods. If the monomers have double bonds between carbons, from addition reactions polymers can be synthesized. These polymers are known as addition polymers. In some of the polymerization reactions, when two monomers are joined, a small molecule like water is removed. Such polymers are condensation polymers. Polymers have very different physical and chemical properties than their monomer. Moreover, according to the number of repeating units in the polymers, their properties differ. There are a large number of polymers present in the natural environment, and they play very important roles. Synthetic polymers are also used widely for different purposes. Polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, nylon, and Bakelite are some of the synthetic polymers. When producing synthetic polymers, the process should be highly controlled to get the desired product always. Polymers are used as adhesives, lubricants, paints, films, fibers, plastic goods, etc.


Polyvinyl chloride is abbreviated as PVC. This is a synthetic polymer produced by the monomer vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is an alkene derivative with a substituted chlorine atom instead of a hydrogen atom. An addition polymerization takes place by arranging the monomers in head to tail fashion when producing PVC. This is a linear polymer. In the polymer, chlorine atoms will be found in alternating carbon atoms. So, about 57% mass of PVC consists of chlorine. PVC is analogous to polyethylene. However, the presence of chlorine is PVC has changed its properties widely in contrast to polyethylene. PVC is a thermoplastic polymer. It is rigid but, by adding various plasticizers, can be made more flexible and softer. It is widely used for many purposes. Therefore, PVC is the third most widely produced plastic in the market. PVC is relatively cheap and durable. It is easy to work with and has a high resistance to chemical reactions. So, PVC is used to make pipes, electric cables, and used for various purposes in the construction industry. Further, it is used in clothing, to make furniture, toys etc.


Vinyl is a functional group with the formula −CH=CH2. According to the IUPAC nomenclature, this is known as “ethenyl”. This is derived from ethene. When one hydrogen atom of ethene is replaced with another atom, it becomes a vinyl group. These are unsaturated groups. They can undergo reactions which are characteristic to alkenes because of the double bond.


What is the difference between PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) and Vinyl?

• PVC is a polymer and vinyl is a functional group.

• Vinyl functional group is present in the monomer of PVC.

• In PVC monomer, the substituent for the vinyl group is a chlorine atom. Therefore, it is known as vinyl chloride.