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The lifecycle analysis of materials competition for pipe in the construction industry.

Kraemer-SR; Ginley-D; Joyce-C
Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 9279, 1991 Jan; :1-34
Consumption of plastics has been growing in both the U.S. and world markets since the mid-1930's. This growth is due to plastics being used to make new products and as a replacement material for existing products. This U.S. Bureau of Mines paper develops an understanding of the replacement process by looking at the use of plastic, specifically pvc (polyvinyl chloride), in the construction pipe industry. History details the growth of the plastics industry, and a discussion of the material selection process indicates the advantages and disadvantages of plastic pipe. Analysis shows that the use of plastic as an alternative material for pipe is having a significant effect on the cast iron, copper, clay, and steel industries. For the purpose of understanding the replacement process, three example residential systems were examined with a lifecycle cost analysis being performed. Pvc was the material of choice in 1988 for all systems. Even though disposal cost was the one area where pvc was not the most cost effective, disposal costs were not sufficient to offset the overall advantage of using pvc on an economic basis. That plastic competes effectively with other materials, in terms of material properties and cost, indicates that further work should be performed to understand the impact plastics have on other material markets.
Construction-materials; Structural-plastics; Economic-analysis; Cost-effectiveness; Pipes-Tubes; Piping-systems; Construction-industry; Recycling; Cost-analysis; Life-cycle-cost; Plastic-pipes
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Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 9279
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division