The key difference between PVC and vinyl is that PVC is a polymer while vinyl is a functional group.
Polymers are large molecules, which has the same structural unit repeating over and over. The repeating units are “monomers”. These monomers bind with each other with covalent bonds to form a polymer. Polymers have very different physical and chemical properties than their monomers. 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 synthetic polymers.
What is PVC?
Polyvinyl chloride, denoted as PVC, is a synthetic polymer produced by the monomer vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is an alkene derivative containing a substituted chlorine atom instead of a hydrogen atom. In the production of PVC, an addition polymerization takes place by arranging the monomers in head to tail fashion. This is a linear polymer.
In the polymer, chlorine atoms occur in an alternating pattern. Thus, about 57% mass of PVC consists of chlorine. PVC is analogous to polyethylene. However, the presence of chlorine in PVC has changed its properties widely in contrast to polyethylene.
Further, PVC is a thermoplastic polymer. It is rigid but, by adding various plasticizers it becomes more flexible and softer. It is very important 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. Therefore, PVC is important in making pipes, electric cables, and is useful for various purposes in the construction industry. Furthermore, it is useful in clothing, to make furniture, toys etc.
What is Vinyl?
Vinyl is a functional group with the formula −CH=CH2. According to the IUPAC nomenclature, we can name it as “ethenyl”. This functional group 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.
Different types of vinyl polymers include PVC, PVF and PVAc. PVC is polyvinyl chloride which has a chlorine atom in the vinyl group and PVF is polyvinyl fluoride which has a fluorine atom instead of a chlorine atom in the vinyl group. Similarly, PVAc is polyvinyl acetate which has an acetate group in the place of chlorine (or fluorine) atom in the vinyl group.
What is the Difference Between PVC and Vinyl?
Polyvinyl chloride, denoted as PVC, is a synthetic polymer produced by the monomer vinyl chloride. Vinyl is a functional group with the formula −CH=CH2. The key difference between PVC and vinyl is that PVC is a polymer and vinyl is a functional group. When considering the chemical formulas, the chemical formula for PVC is −CH=CHCl and for a vinyl group, it is −CH=CH2.
Summary – PVC vs Vinyl
PVC is a synthetic polymer produced by the monomer vinyl chloride, while Vinyl is a functional group with the formula −CH=CH2. The key difference between PVC and vinyl is that PVC is a polymer and vinyl is a functional group.
1. Johnson, Todd. “PVC Plastics: Polyvinyl Chloride.” ThoughtCo, Jun. 22, 2018, Available here.