Vinyl is a compound that is used in many of the products with which we interact on a day-to-day basis. But it is so ubiquitous that most of us hardly ever recognize its existence. It can be found in everything from large vinyl banners displayed at sporting events to the PVC pipe that runs water through your house, and even in vinyl fabrics used for clothing. Here is some information to help you appreciate the role that this often underappreciated material plays in your life.
Technically, vinyl is simply any organic compound that contains a vinyl molecule. This very general definition allows for vinyl to be found in a ridiculously wide variety of products. There is vinyl sign material, vinyl banner signs and large vinyl banners, vinyl covered fabric, and the list goes on. There are even thousands of table clothes in restaurants that are nothing more than vinyl backed with cotton. Vinyl is even used in every child’s favorite thing, bounce houses, in a low-lead version. In fact, entire businesses exist that don’t even make anything with vinyl, they simply sell it to other businesses, who then manufacture it into something else.
Vinyl is also a major component in polyvinyl chloride, better known by its acronym PVC. PVC is the third-most widely produced plastic, behind polyethylene and polypropylene. It was actually discovered several times by mistake in the 19th century, when chemists left flasks of vinyl chloride exposed to the sunlight. This technique would lead to the first patent being issued for PVC in 1913, when Friedrich Klatte invented a new method of polymerization of vinyl chloride using sunlight. Initially, PVC was too rigid and brittle to be processed for use in commercial products, but in 1926, a researcher at the B.F. Goodrich Company, Waldo Lonsbury Semon, invented a new method to plasticize polyvinyl chloride, making it more flexible and allowing it to be more easily processed for use in commercial products.
When looking at all the large vinyl banners flying over one’s favorite sports team’s stadium, many may worry about the impact vinyl and PVC have on the environment. Perhaps its ubiquity is a bad thing if it happens to have a negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, vinyl can be recycled, giving a very long and healthy lifespan, and allowing it to be reused for decades to come. For more about this, go here: www.valuevinyls.com