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Vinyl 101: What You Ought to Know About Vinyl

Vinyl may be popular among companies, designers and artisans, but it is a term foreign to ordinary people never had the chance to come across it. From being known as rejected material back in the 1920s to becoming the second best-selling plastic in the world, the PVC industry keeps growing to endless possibilities.

Aside from its application as “infrastructure plastic,” vinyl has made its way into other industries such as the home and kitchen novelty. The material with rising popularity, Oracal 651 vinyl, is now used on coffee mugs, water bottles, and even jewelry.

The following discussion will give an overview of vinyl; its history, its discovery, and its applications across various industries.

What is Vinyl and How It Was Discovered

Vinyl, or popularly known as Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a type of synthetic plastic. This means that it’s a product made by humans and not naturally existing in nature.

The discovery of vinyl is quite impressive; instead of having been created with intent, it was somewhat accidental. This material was discovered by Dr. Waldo Semon, a once-instructor from the University of Washington before he was hired as a researcher by BFGoodrich back in 1926.

He was tasked to research and develop a new type of rubber that can coat metal, a process that was believed to only be possible with synthetic rubber. When running out of rubbers during his research, he started to test synthetic polymers, which included PVC.

PVC was hard when kept at room temperature, so Semon tried mixing it with hot solvent to dissolve it. However, the outcome was not the intended adhesive. Instead, a jelly-like flexible rubber came out. At that moment, he realized that he discovered something innovative.

Though this newly-found product does not bond with metal (which was, initially, the purpose of Dr.Waldo’s research), its application and uses on other things soon became widespread.

The Various Applications of Vinyl

Because of the flexibility and durability of vinyl, it has numerous applications across a wide variety of industries. Here are some examples of widespread vinyl usage.

Building and Construction Industry

Buildings and construction use mostly PVC due to its durability, low-cost, and easy installation. According to Vinyl Institute, this industry use up to around 70% of this plastic.

Medical Sector

Many health care products and hospital procedures use PVC for over 50 years due to their unbreakable and easy-to-sterilize property. Blood bags and blood transfusion processes, kidney dialysis, and other major procedures can safely utilize this product.

Home and Kitchen Industry

Homes uses the popular Oracal 631, or also known as indoor vinyl to decorate walls and other surfaces. One can easily remove it and won’t damage the surfaces.

On the other hand, the Oracal 651 vinyl, or also called outdoor vinyl, can withstand water and extreme temperature. As such, it can serve as a permanent and robust sticker to decorate coffee mugs, outdoor signs, and many more.

Packaging Sector

Because of the safe, robust, and inexpensive feature of vinyl, it is an excellent choice for packaging. It can serve as a material for packaging for a wide variety of products, from electronics to food to toys. Its flexibility also makes it a suitable material to make jar lids and food wrapper.

Because of the countless applications of vinyl, this plastic is known to be the third most used type of plastic. With its excellent properties, it will continuously contribute to various industries across the world.


Posts by SpeakBindas Editorial Team.

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