Polyvinyl Chloride

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Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic that is better known as vinyl. It is also known by the acronym PVC. First discovered in 1835, it took scientists over ninety years to find a use for this material.

In 1926, Waldo Semon, a scientist with the B.F. Goodrich Company in Akron, Ohio, found a practical use for PVC. The company directed Semon to find a way to bond rubber with metal. After trying numerous other substances, Semon tested PVC. After adding various substances to PVC, Semon succeeded in creating a flexible, water-proof, and fire-resistant plastic that could bond to metal as well as be formed into products by itself.

Today, PVC is the second-most-used plastic in the world, with manufacturers producing nearly forty-four billion pounds per year. Retail sale of PVC earns producers a combined twenty billion dollars per year. More than fifty percent of PVC manufactured today is used in construction materials, especially pipes and window frames. Other uses for PVC include credit cards and vinyl records.

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