Designing with Plastics

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Designing with Plastics
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GF Piping Systems


An ePublication of the International Association of Plastics Distribution

March 2008 | Focus: Plastic Pipe, Valves and Fittings

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EPA Compliance Problem Solved Without Disrupting Manufacturing Production


GF Piping’s Contain-It™ Secondary Containment Piping System features clear PVC construction, which allows for visual leak detection in above-ground installations.With new EPA regulations for containing pipes transporting hazardous fluids, companies are continually faced with the challenge of adapting to meet these rulings, often at significant expense. Such was the case for a car manufacturer in Lafayette, IN, USA, who discovered it needed to contain existing pipe in order to bring its facility up to new EPA standards.

The car manufacturer used transmission fluid, motor oil, windshield wiper fluid and steering fluid in their production process. All these fluids were stored in 10,000 gallon underground tanks, pumped out, and then transported through above-ground pipe to the building. Once inside the manufacturing facility, the fluids were used to start up the new vehicles coming off the line. With new EPA regulations in effect, the existing above-ground, 2-inch carbon steel pipe now needed to be secondarily contained in order to comply.

Faced with the prospect of a possible system shutdown in order to work on the pipe and contain it properly, the company turned to Craft Mechanical, a full service mechanical contractor, also in Lafayette, in hopes of finding a solution. With the goal of purchasing a system that would require as little down-time as possible, or one that could actually avoid downtime altogether, Craft Mechanical searched for a variety of suppliers and chose a specific secondary containment system for the job.

GF Piping’s Contain-It System is offered in both split pipe and fittings for retrofit installations or solid pipe and fittings for new installations. The Solid Pipe Con­tain-It System uses split fittings and can be used where it is preferred to pull a leak detection cable.“The selected piping system from GF Piping Systems was the only one we could find that would allow us to continue production without system shutdown,” explained Don Moore, project superintendent for Craft Mechanical. “The system we used snaps around the existing pipe — there’s no need to disturb anything with the current system or shut the system down at all. We searched and couldn’t find any other product that would work without physically taking the entire existing pipe apart.”

The secondary containment piping system’s split pipe and fitting design allows installation over virtually any carrier system. Its clear PVC (polyvinyl chloride) construction allows for visual inspection of the annular space, in many cases eliminating the need for expensive leak detection systems in above-ground applications.

View the complete article online.

In This Issue:
Application Focus: EPA Compliance Problem Solved Without Disrupting Manufacturing Production
Plastic piping offers easy second containment solution.

Recycling PVC Piping Systems
When it works and when it doesn't.

Clear PVC — the Clear Advantage
Clear PVC offers even more benefits than regular PVC.

Metal Pipe Prices, Ease of Installation Create Opportunity for CPVC
Cost pressure and installation concerns make CPVC the right choice.

All About Plastic Pipe
Why plastic piping materials are the right choice for many applications.

Test Your Knowledge
What do you know about plastic piping?

Online Plastic Resources
IAPD offers many online search resources at and, including distributor, processor, trade name and fabrication capability searches.

Find an IAPD Plastics Distributor or Processor

Search for Suppliers by Trade Name or Material and Shape

Search for Plastics Fabrication Capabilities

Search Other Plastics Articles Published by IAPD

View Past Issues of Designing with Plastics


About IAPD
The International Association of Plastics Distribution, founded in 1956, is an international trade association comprised of companies engaged in the distribution and manufacture of plastics materials.

Members include plastics distributors, processors, manufacturers, resin manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives and associated products and services, all of whom are dedicated to the distribution channel.

Recycling PVC Piping Systems


Drainage pipe (not for potable water) using recycled PVC.Recycling of all manufactured products is getting a lot of press for being the environmental way of the future: rightfully so. But for a product that is resistant to chemical and corrosive attack and has a service life of over 100 years without significant decline in performance, you would think the environmental activists would tone down their rhetoric some-what regarding PVC piping systems. These systems are matchless when it comes to being leak-proof, durable, easy and safe to install, cost effective and environmentally sensible. These attributes have been repeatedly proven in long-term performance results when compared to other non-plastic piping materials. So, why all the hoopla about recycling PVC pipe?

Most likely the cause that provokes the fury of the ill-equipped activist is the arena of short-term product life (10 years or less) of such items as packaging, electronics, clothing and automobiles which tend to spotlight concerns for all manufactured products no matter what the life of the product may be. But to be fair, let’s examine the recycling of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe and see if we can ascertain the economic, energy use and environmental impact it has on our planet.

In recycling terms, PI does not stand for “private investigator” but rather “post-industrial” which is the name given for scrap left over from the manufacturing process. In the manufacture of PVC piping, PI includes mostly scraps developed from production start-up, shut-down, out-of-spec pipe and quality control testing samples. This scrap is routinely reground and later introduced back into the production process. It is estimated that less than 1 percent of the PVC material used by piping manufacturers is not used to produce product. In other words, PVC pipe manufacturing has excellent marks in PI recycling.

Post-consumer (PC) recycling reclaims material after the product has been used for its intended purpose. When PVC pipe and building products such as siding, window, fencing or decking are discarded due to remodeling, new construction debris, demolition or piping relocations, you would think the manufacturers could recycle these materials. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds and here’s why.

Compounds and methods to produce extruded PVC pipe are completely different for fittings and other PVC molded products. Every manufacturer can have a slightly different recipe than their competition for each product line. However, all compounds must conform to ASTM, NSF and PPI standards. Thus to recycle PVC piping the product components must be returned to the original manufacturer. This action could be hindered in that most piping systems consist of components from multiple manufacturers since most PVC piping products are interchangeable. Plus, what do you do with solvent-cemented pipe and fitting joints that are basically impossible to take apart? And to ensure conformance of dimensions, burst and working pressure, the ASTM standards limit the amount of recycled material that can be mixed with virgin material to produce pressurized pipe and fittings. In addition, these piping systems may be contaminated from previous use which would not meet NSF requirements to transport potable water. It is possible that ASTM and NSF standards may be waived if the manufacturer uses post-consumer material in the manufacturing of non-pressure pipe or fittings for non-potable water applications.

View the complete article online.

Clear PVC — the Clear Advantage


Harvel Clear™ PVC piping can be used in a variety of chemical mixing/processing applications.Have you thought about PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe lately? Probably not, since it’s such a main­stream product, garnishing about 62 percent of the global pipe market. Since its introduction into the U.S. market in the early 1950s, PVC pipe has proven to be a durable, dependable and cost-effective choice for applications such as potable water, wastewater, agricultural and industrial applications. It out-performs traditional metallic pipe materials, due to its inherent resistance to corrosion, and functions well in num­erous environments.

While not exactly a recent development in PVC pipe, the clear versions are finding more acceptance in a myriad of applications. These applications benefit from the pipe clarity, especially when that property is added to the traditional benefits of PVC.

These benefits are well recognized: ex­cellent corrosion resistance, smooth interior walls for improved flow characteristics, light weight, ease of fabrication and assembly, good pressure ratings and competitive costs.

However, there are opportunities where clarity adds an important dimension to the application. For instance, the ability to visibly monitor chemical processes, mixing, filtration, potable and non-potable water lines provides an extra measure of safety for monitoring the process. It should be noted that potable water ap­plications require that the material be listed with the National Sanitation Foun­­d­ation (NSF International Standard 61). Certain clear PVC pipe materials also comply with FDA Title 21 requirements for food contact applications. (Check with your clear PVC pipe manufacturer for specific listing information.) This provides an advantage in certain food processing applications where visual monitoring is paramount.

It is also important that clear PVC pipe be produced in both Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 dimensions. This allows optimum performance/cost ratios and provides sufficient wall thickness for most pressure applications. When the clear process is done well, the clarity will not be compromised because of schedule differences. Several applications for clear PVC pipe include: chemical processing (i.e., mixing processes where visual monitoring of processes is critical), site glass, as well as visual leak detection (i.e., dual containment) to name a few.

View the complete article online.

Metal Pipe Prices, Ease of Installation Create Opportunity for CPVC


With the price of metallic piping (including copper) maintaining historically high levels around the world, specifiers, designers and installers are considering alternatives to these piping systems more than ever. In the area of commercial water distribution systems, CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is seeing a greater acceptance as a cost-effective alternative to copper for several reasons.

Plumbing systems made from Corzan® and Flow­Guard Gold® pipe and fittings are used in high-rise applications, apartment buildings, hotels/motels and commercial installations.For more than 40 years, CPVC has been used to convey potable water in single and multi-family residences. More recently, CPVC has been gaining acceptance in hotels, motels and high-rise residential properties. Typical sizes for this application range from 1/2'' to 2'' copper tube size (CTS) dimensions. In applications where greater volumes of water need to be delivered, the CTS CPVC pipe was traditionally supplied by larger diameter copper pipe. Those mains would range up to 8'' in diameter. Today, cost pressures on projects have opened the door for these larger mains and risers to be replaced by CPVC, thus creating an all-CPVC water distribution system. Owners, specifiers, designers and contractors are all looking at the cost benefits that can be realized by designing with and installing CPVC for commercial water systems.

In addition to the material cost savings achieved by using CPVC, there are other benefits including ease of installation. CPVC is lightweight, utilizes a solvent ce­mented joining system — a single step for CTS, a two step system for larger iron pipe size (IPS) diameters — and does not require special tools to install. With the solvent welded joining system and CPVC fittings product availability, it is easier than ever to transition from IPS Sche­dule 80 piping systems to CTS dimension piping systems.

CPVC is a quieter piping system to use for water distribution, minimizing water flow noise and virtually eliminating the banging sound of water hammer. This is especially important for hotels/motels, college dormitories, hospitals and other multi-family dwellings where it is important to minimize “guest” disruption.

Another benefit to designing with CPVC is the reduced potential of theft from job sites. Scrap copper has a street value around $.90/lb. There is little to no scrap value for CPVC.

View the complete article online.

About Plastics Piping Systems

Pipe is a rigid hollow cylinder that, in conjunction with fittings and valves, creates a system to convey a liquid or gas. Thermoplastic piping systems are more prevalent than thermoset by a wide margin, due to the “forgiveness” of the material. Because of its nature, users are afforded more time in joining and repair is easier. In general, the cure time before pressurization is also less.

Listed below are the most prevalent thermoplastic piping systems. They are in general order of chemical resistance, though each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene)
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene
  • PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride)
  • Fluoropolymers (PTFE, FEP, PFA, MFA)
  • ECTFE (Ethylene Chlorotrifluoroethylene)

For more information on plastic piping systems and plastic materials, IAPD’s Introduction to Plastics is an invaluable training manual. Information about it and other IAPD educational resources are available online at

Test Your Knowledge

What do you know about plastic piping? Answers are at

1. PVC pipe is available in many grades, schedules and standard colors. Which of these is not one of them?

  1. Schedule 80
  2. Drain (DWV)
  3. Clear
  4. Schedule 110

2. In an application that transports hot sulfuric acid, which piping material would be the best selection?

  1. PVC lined steel
  2. PP with FRP filament wound over wrap
  3. CPVC lined steel
  4. PVDF with a FRP filament wound over wrap 

Online Plastic Resources

Your IAPD Distributor is your choice in finding the right material for your application. Go to to find a distributor in your area. You can search by company name, location or product category.

The IAPD Magazine web site at allows you to search by material, trade name and fabrication process. You can also search for fabrication capabilities.

GF Piping Systems

© 2008

International Association of Plastics Distribution
4707 College Blvd., Suite 105
Leawood, KS 66211 -1667 USA |
Phone: +913.345.1005 | Fax: +913.345.1006

Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.

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