Fundamentals of Jayflex plasticizers - wet dog

Fundamentals of plasticizers

Plasticizers bring flexibility to PVC applications. They also attract misconceptions across the value chain. There are indeed similarities, but the truth is that plasticizers can also be fundamentally different!


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PVC and plasticizers:
the basics

Different plastics for different needs

Plastics and polymers, including PVC, are essential to our quality of life. Many PVC products need to be flexible and soft to withstand physical stress without breaking. They also need to be able to take a particular shape for each and every application.

As the third largest polymer consumed, PVC enhances the quality of our daily life.

World Plastics Materials Demand 2014
World plastics demand graphic - English

Different PVC needs for different markets 

Plasticizers transform the properties of PVC to create the attributes we need in each application.
 Most PVC applications have a life-span of 10 to 20 years and beyond. Its long life-span makes PVC the perfect material for applications like building and construction.

What is PVC?

PVC has all the attributes needed to make it a widely used polymer. It is:
  • energy efficient: it takes less energy to produce than many alternative plastics3
  • cost effective 
  • flame retardant – inherent fire safety, due to chlorine 
  • durable: applications have long life-span expectancy 
  • versatile, printable and paintable 
  • adaptable: can be processed in multiple manufacturing operations 
  • chemically resistant 
  • recyclable

Source: Milieuvriendelijk verpakken in de toekomst (Dutch: Environmentally friendly packaging in the future), Stichting Milieudefensie (Nl), 1991.  
4 In communities that have programs and facilities in place that collect and recycle PVC.

Plasticizer composition graphic - English
PVC chain
PVC chain graphic

What are plasticizers?

Most plasticizers are esters, that make PVC soft, flexible and easy to shape
Plasticizer ester composition graphic - English

Not all plasticizer manufacturing processes are the same

Plasticizer manufacturing process graphic - English
1 ExxonMobil commercializes DINP under the brand Jayflex™ 
2 DINCH is a trademark of BASF

Orthophthalates or terephthalates

Molecular weight

How does a plasticizer make PVC flexible? 
Plasticization is about developing strong forces between PVC and plasticizers.

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