Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between HDPE and PVC


Plastic materials are very elastic and malleable. They can be molded, pressed, or cast into different shapes. They are mostly made from petroleum and natural gas. There are two types of plastics; thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers.

While thermosetting polymers can be melted and molded only once, staying solid once it is cooled, thermoplastics can be melted and molded repeatedly and are therefore recyclable.

Thermoplastics are used in the manufacture of containers, bottles, fuel tanks, folding tables and chairs, sheds, plastic bags, cable insulators, ballistic plates, pool toys, upholstery, clothing, and for piping systems.

There are several types of thermoplastics, and they are classified as amorphous or semi-crystalline. Two of these are PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is amorphous and HDPE (high density polyethylene) which is semi-crystalline. Both are commodity polymers.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a cheap and durable vinyl polymer used in construction projects. It is the third most widely used plastic after polyethylene and polypropylene and is widely used in the production of pipes. It has light weight and high strength and is very popular in piping applications both above ground and underground. It is suitable for use in direct burial and trenchless installations because it is very strong.

High density polyethylene (HDPE), on the other hand, is a polyethylene thermoplastic that is made from petroleum. It has higher strength, is harder, and can withstand high temperatures.
HDPE pipes are convenient to use in underground piping because they are found to dampen and absorb shock waves minimizing surges that can affect the system. They also have the best joint pressure resistance and are also more abrasion and heat resistant.

Although both materials are strong and durable, they vary in strength and other aspects. For one, they differ in their pressure capacity for design stress. To achieve the same pressure rating as PVC pipes, HDPE pipe walls must be 2.5 times thicker than PVC pipes.

While both materials are also used in the manufacture of fireworks, HDPE is found to be more suitable and safer to use because it launches fireworks shells to their proper height. And should it fail to be launched and break inside the container, the HDPE container will not shatter with as much force as a PVC container does.


1.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a cheap and durable vinyl polymer used in construction projects while high density polyethylene (HDPE) is a polyethylene thermoplastic that is made from petroleum.
2.Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely used plastic while polyethylene of which HDPE is a type is the most widely used plastic.
3.PVC is amorphous while HDPE is semi-crystalline.
4.Both are strong and durable, but their strengths vary and they have different applications. PVC is heavier and stronger while HDPE is harder and more abrasion and heat resistant.
5.HDPE pipes are found to be able to dampen and absorb shock waves minimizing surges that can affect the system while PVC cannot.
6.HDPE is more suitable for lower pressure installations while PVC is more suitable for direct burial and trenchless installations.

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  1. Well written and easy to understand.

    I am learning about municipal stormwater piping, with emphasis on installation of a liner to repair/reinforce aging piping. There is apparently a type of lining that is “injected” to form a continuous, no-seam liner. This method requires minimal trenching. If (1) the foregoing is true, and (2) the “injection-formed” liner is either PVC (doubtful) or a type of polyethylene (i.e., the two plastics compared here), then including such information would enhance the scope of the article.

  2. The author of this article has collected some data. However, I feel there is no clear verdict on which one of them is better. Also, one factor that was missed out is the joint efficiency. Glue joints used in PVC are not suitable in the long run. Whereas HDPE pipe are available in rolls of long lengths and number joints are fractional compared to PVC pipe system.

  3. I bought a empty tank that was filled with high molecular hdpe .If you can help me I want to know if I can use it as a reservoir for water to water my garden plants .The little bit that is left inside is very sticky and it doesnt mix with water

  4. I have learned HDPE pipe is much better than PVC pipe for carry underground water for irrigation purposes.

  5. What is th best pipe hdpe or pvc pipes

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