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How PVC is made

PVC is not a material like the others. It is the only plastic material that is not 100% oil-based. PVC contains 57% chlorine (derived from sodium chloride – table salt) and 43% oil.

From the salt, through the electrolysis process, chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen are obtained. Electrolysis is the chemical reaction resulting from the passage of an electric current through salt water (brine). Thus, chlorine is obtained, which represents 57% of the PVC produced.

Oil, which represents only 43% of the PVC formed, goes a little longer. The first step is a distillation of the crude oil, obtaining light naphtha there. This then goes through the catalytic cracking process (breaking large molecules into smaller molecules with the action of catalysts to accelerate the process), generating ethylene. Both chlorine and ethylene are in the gas phase and they react by producing DCE (dichloroethane).

From the DCE, the MVC is obtained (vinyl mono chloride, basic unit of the polymer. The polymer is formed by the repetition of the monomeric structure). The MVC molecules are subjected to the polymerization process, that is, they are bound to form a much larger molecule, known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is a very fine powder, white in color, and totally inert.