Comparison of PVC and HDPE

Material Properties of PVC and HDPE

The material properties of PVC make PVC a better choice than HDPE for many applications. The following table lists the properties for both PVC and HDPE that are most important to the design of piping systems:

Property Specification PVC HDPE
HDPE 47102
Tensile Strength (PSI) ASTM D638 7,000 3,000 3,500
Specific Gravity ASTM D1505 1.40 0.94 0.95
ASTM D3350 Cell Class ASTM D3350 NA3 345464 445574
Hydrostatic Design Basis @73° F (PSI) ASTM D2837 4,000 1,600 1,600
Modulus of Elasticity for Long Term Deflection Calculations (PSI) ASTM D638 400,000 29,000 29,000
Hardness (Rockwell R) ASTM D785 117 52 NA
Coefficient of Linear Expansion (in./in.°F) ASTM D696 0.30 x10-4
Water Disinfectant Induced Oxidation5 - Highly Resistant Low Resistance Low Resistance
Hydrocarbon Permeation6 - Highly Resistant Highly Permeable Highly Permeable
  1. HDPE 3408/3608 also referred to as PE80
  2. HDPE 4710 also referred to as PE100
  3. PVC Pipe Cell Class per ASTM D1784 (12454)
  4. PPI - PE Handbook - Long Term Modulus of Elasticity is 29,000 psi
  5. Carollo Engineers 2008, Choi 2008, Chung 2008, Fumire 2008, Rozental 2008, Castegnetti 2007, Audouin 2007, Dear 2006, Lundback 2005, Hassinen 2004
  6. AWWA Research Foundation 2007 (now WRF)

Pressure Class Comparison

Dimension RatioPressure RatingDimension RatioPressure Rating
DR 18235 PSIDR 7.3255 PSI
DR 21200 PSIDR 9200 PSI
DR 25165 PSIDR 11160 PSI
DR 32.5125 PSIDR 13.5130 PSI
DR 41100 PSIDR 17100 PSI
DR 5180 PSIDR 2180 PSI

Sample Pipe Comparisons

Horizontal Directional Drilling

Fusible PVC® will require a smaller bore hole diameter than other pipe systems. A smaller bore-hole diameter means that there will be less back reaming, less drilling mud, and less spoil disposal. The following comparisons illustrate these advantages.

8" DR 25 Fusible PVC® versus 10" DR 11 HDPE
16" DR 18 Fusible PVC® versus 20" DR 9 HDPE
24" DR 32.5 Fusible PVC® versus 30" DR 13.5 HDPE


Fusible PVC® generally offers the largest internal diameter in a slipline material. The comparisons below show how Fusible PVC® can offer a larger flow area, and therefore reduced pumping costs.

18" DR 25 Fusible PVC® versus 18" DR 11 HDPE:

Pipe Technical Data
Flow Analysis
Energy Analysis