Difference Between HDPE and PVC (With Table)

Plastics are best known for their excellent elasticity and malleability. Due to these properties, they are widely used to cast different shapes and sizes. Petroleum and natural gas are usually the raw materials with which plastics are produced. Plastics are of two categories, thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics.

Thermosetting plastics cannot be melted and cast into different objects more than once, whereas thermoplastics can be. 


The difference between HPDE and PVC is that HPDE is semi-crystalline, whereas PVC is amorphous. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene ( HDPE ) are common examples of thermoplastics. These thermoplastics are widely used in manufacturing bottles, tanks, toys, pipes, and similar products. Both of these plastics are commodity polymers. Thermoplastics are best known for their capacity to be melted and reused several times.

HDPE is manufactured from the ethylene monomer. When used in pipes, it is also known as alkathene and polythene. It has a high strength to density ratio. This is the reason why it is widely used in the manufacture of bottles, and it is resistant to corrosion. It is recycled, and its resin identification code is the number 2.

PVC is a synthetic, plastic, thermoplastic polymer. Every year over 40 million tons of PVC is manufactured. They are used in pipes and the construction of doors and windows. Food covering sheets is a major application of this PVC. Their ductility and malleability have made them a wide option for the manufacture of a lot of products.

Comparison Table Between HDPE and PVC

Parameters of Comparison
DefinitionHigh-density polyethylene (HDPE) is semi-crystalline and expensive.       Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is inexpensive, affordable, and is amorphous. 
SurgesHigh-density polyethylene (HDPE)has the capacity to dampen and also absorb the waves to prevent the system from being affected by reducing the surges.  Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) does not reduce surges.
Areas of Applications High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is best suited to be employed in lower pressure areas.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is best suited in trenchless regions and also in burial areas.
PropertiesHigh-density polyethylene(HPDE) is resistant to heat and abrasion.   PVC is best known for its high durability and sturdiness.
UsageHigh-density polyethylene (HPDE) is the most popularly used plastic for commercial purposes.PVC is ranked three among the popularly used types of plastics.

What is HDPE?

HPDE is made out of petroleum and is a thermoplastic polymer. It is one of the versatile plastic materials. It is used for a lot of a wide variety of applications. It is used in the manufacture of bottles, crockery, toys, cutting boards, and piping. It is best known for its high tensile strength. It also a very high resistance and also possesses a high melting point.

It is widely used in food applications. It is also used in manufacturing wood-plastic composites. It is also used in medical applications like plastic surgeries, especially for facial surgeries and those related to skeletal reconstruction. It is also used in show boards and 3-D printing applications. Food and beverage containers are also mostly made out of HDPE.

It has a texture that gives a better grip on products made out of HDPE. It is also present in food-grade quality. The products are made out of it ensure low maintenance, safe and long-lasting. The products have a high quality and consequently a higher lifetime. Some of the advantages and reasons why it has a high commercial demand are because of its high ductility, malleability—ability to be moulded easily, high resistance to corrosion, large strength to density ratio.

What is PVC?

PVC is a thermoplastic polymer widely used to manufacture good quality pipes and also is used in the field of medicine. It is also used in medical devices and in cable insulation. It is both economically cheap and also of good quality. It is also found for construction purposes. Door and window profiles are built with these.

It is white in colour, and it is also brittle. It is available both in the form of granules or also powder. It has the excellent properties of durability, less expensive cost, easy to process, and all these have to lead to the PVC is used as a replacement component in building materials, construction applications, and it is also used instead of wood, concrete, ceramics, rubber and sometimes even used instead of metals.

PVC is found in many forms. Some of them are plasticized or flexible PVC, rigid or unplasticized PVC, chlorinated PVC, modified PVC, and lastly, molecularly oriented PVC.

Some of the merits of these PVCs are that high stiffness, flame retardant properties, better chemical resistance, dimensional stability, and insulation properties. However, it has a few demerits like difficulty in meeting due to its high melting point. It does not have sufficient solvent cracking resistance.

Main Differences Between HDPE and PVC

  1. HPDE is semi-crystalline, whereas PVC is amorphous.
  2. HPDE is expensive, and it is the popularly used plastic, whereas PVC being cheaper, comes third among the commonly used type of plastics.
  3. HPDE being strong also resists heat and abrasion. PVC is durable, is heavier.
  4. HPDE can reduce surges, whereas PVC does not, and it leads to damage to the system.
  5. HPDE has most of its applications in areas with low pressure, while PVC is suited for burial areas and also regions that lack trenches.


Both types of plastics are strong and best known for their excellent durability. They differ in their strength and properties, and so differs their pressure capacity. Both types of plastics have their own needs and necessities based on their properties.

Though both are used in the manufacture of fireworks, HPDE is considerably a safer option as it can propel and launch the fireworks to a safe distance. Sometimes PVC has the danger of exploding inside the container, and HPDE also has these risks.

Both the plastics have chances of exploding inside the container with the same force. Based on the area of application, the types of plastics should be chosen carefully.


  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ed051p541
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0008622303003877
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