Why PVC is an Ideal Choice for Marine Plumbing Applications
20th Apr 2022
Quality piping is an essential component of any marine sanitation or water system. Pipes and joint fittings undergo tremendous stress at sea, so it’s important to use only the highest quality and most reliable materials when installing a new system or making repairs to an existing one. While there are many materials available on the market today, PVC has proven itself to be one of the most reliable and enduring choices for marine applications.
What Is PVC?
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most popular piping materials in the world. First synthesized in 1872, this thermoplastic polymerwas adapted for commercial use in the 1920s, making it one of the first plastics to be used for a variety of applications. It can be produced in a rigid form or as a flexible plastic, which makes it extraordinarily versatile.
Rigid PVC is frequently used in plumbing applications because its combination of high tensile strength and low weight make it easier to work with and maintain than metal alternatives. As a thermoplastic, PVC can be easily molded into a wide variety of shapes that make it suitable for a variety of applications. Researchers are continuously experimenting with new forms of PVC that have different characteristics. The most popular example of this is CPVC, which is a form of PVC altered by a chlorination process to provide it with greater tensile strength and higher temperature resistance, which makes it suitable for carrying hot water.
Benefits of PVC for Marine Applications
Over the last century, PVC has become one of the most popular materials for marine plumbing. Whether it’s forthe sanitation system on a small private boat or the water treatment system on a massive coastal oil rig, PVC offers a number of advantages over other plastics and metals.
Marine environments are hard on every type of building material. Components must be able to stand up to humidity, high-pressure, and corrosion over long periods of time. As a plastic, PVC is very corrosion-resistant and will not deteriorate due to repeated exposure to sea water. The high tensile strength of PVC also makes it unlikely to break in harsh conditions. It’s also resistant to most chemicals, which makes it easier to clean out the plumbing system. Under most conditions, PVC pipe can last for decades.
Weight is always a consideration for any seagoing vessel. Even the industrial grade marine PVC used for large vessels and ocean rigs is about five times lighter than comparable metal sizes. This not only means more available capacity for other materials, but also makes PVC easier to transport to a repair site when it’s urgently needed.
Assembling PVC is typically a two-step process that involves the application of primer and cement, but there are many new types of quick connections that allow pieces of pipe to be combined without them. In both instances, PVC pipe can be easily cut to the appropriate size, making it an ideal material for performing on-site repairs and wholesale replacements that requires unique dimensions.
Compared to metal alternatives like galvanized steel and copper, PVC is far less expensive to use for almost any marine application. Not only is it less expensive to produce, but the low weight makes it much less expensive to ship, which provides an additional level of cost savings. And since PVC pipes last for decades, there is less need to replace them over time due to corrosion.
The unique characteristics of PVC make it useful for almost any marine application. It can handle both potable water and wastewater systems and is even suitable for oil well casing thanks to its resistance to most chemicals and non-conductive qualities. In fact, PVC has become the predominant material for water well casing over the last several decades.
Georg Fischer: The World Leader in PVC Technology
Founded in Switzerland in 1802, Georg Fischer Ltd(+GF+) develops and manufactures the highest quality PVC pipes and fittings for marine applications in the world. That quality begins with designing superior molds and replacing them frequently to maintain high levels of quality and consistency. Georg Fischer PVC products are well-regarded for their fitment, yield strength, and better long-term durability compared to competing products. Every piece fits the way it was intended to, with no need to “true up” the shape with a machine tool before assembly.
In addition to providing standard and metric PVC pipe and fittings, +GF+ has also introduced a number of truly revolutionary innovations like the iFIT modular installation system. With iFIT components, installation can be completed using half as many components, eliminating the need for primer and cement. The unique modular fittings incorporate view windows and click joints to ensure a more consistent installation quality that saves time and labor.
Turn to Environmental Marine for Your Marine PVC Needs
As an authorized George Fischer distributor, Environmental Marine is your one-stop-shop for the best quality PVC pipe and fittings available on the market. We’re also one of the few places in the US where you can find metric pipe and fittings for marine applications. Our warehousescarry a full selection of Georg Fischer products, including the innovative iFIT system. Whether you’re replacing all the piping in your boat or making repairs on an oil rig off the coast, we make sure you get the parts you need as quickly as possible so you can get the job done right.
To learn more about our wide selection of PVC products from Georg Fischer and other suppliers, talk to one of our marine plumbing specialists today.