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Chemical Resistance Tool

Plastic pipes are inert to a wide range of chemicals which would cause corrosion in a metal or cementitious pipe.

This Chemical Resistance Guide is provided by Iplex as a reference tool to ascertain the initial suitability of various plastic pipe materials for the transportation of particular chemicals.

Plastic pipe systems are ideal for transporting a wide variety of chemicals and are widely used in industries where conveyance of highly corrosive liquids and gases require products with excellent corrosion resistance.

The chemical resistance guide is provided by Iplex as a reference tool to ascertain the initial suitability of various plastic pipe materials for the transportation of a particular chemical.

Chemical Library

The data shown is largely based on immersion tests and can be taken as a general indication of the behaviour of these materials when exposed under pipeline service conditions to the chemicals listed. However it should be noted that the presence of stress can reduce chemical resistance. Also variations in the analysis of chemical compounds or combination substances, together with operating conditions such as pressure, temperature or duration of exposure can all modify the chemical resistance of particular pipe materials.

In certain cases, it may be desirable to carry out experimental tests under the envisaged service conditions or talk directly to Iplex's technical marketing group.

Unlike the corrosion mechanism in metals where there is loss of weight through progressive surface degradation, polymers and elastomers can be affected by aggressive chemicals in any one of the following ways: 

  • Reduction in tensile properties ie strength and elongation at break

  • Swelling or absorption of the liquid

  • Shrinkage or extraction of the soluble portion

Iplex provides extensive technical support and will be pleased to assist when doubt exists over a product's suitability.

The assistance provided by Formatura Iniezione Polimera Spa (FIP) in particular in the production of the information is acknowledged. Other references include ISO/TR 10358, AS 2032 and AS 2033.

No guarantee can be given in respect of the listed data. Iplex Pipelines reserves the right to make any modifications whatsoever based upon further research and experience.

Chemical resistance degree

Three different types of chemical resistance degree are used in the chemical resistance guide:

A = High Resistance

The material belonging in this category is for practical purposes corrosion-proof against the listed chemical under the specified operating temperature and concentration. 

  • Elongation at break - unchanged

  • Swelling < 3%

  • Weight loss < 0.5%

B = Limited Resistance

The material will be affected by the chemical to some extent. The expected life will therefore be shorter and it is advisable to carry out an appropriate analysis of the risks involved if the material is to be used. 

  • Elongation at break - less than 50% reduction

  • Swelling 3 - 8%

  • Weight loss 0.5 - 5%

C = No Resistance

Material in this category is subject to attack by the chemical and should therefore not be used. 

  • Elongation at break - more than 50% reduction

  • Swelling > 8%

  • Weight loss > 5%

Please Note:
Where insufficient data is available concerning the performance of the material, when exposed to a particular chemical, is has been left blank.



commercial solution




dilute solution


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saturated solution at 20°C


weak solution

Chemical Resistance Properties of Polyethylene

Polyethylene is in chemical terms a non-polar high molecular weight paraffin of the hydrocarbon family. Hence it is very resistant to (non oxidising) strong acids, strong bases and salts. It is mildly affected by aliphatic solvents although aromatic and chlorinated solvents will cause some swelling.

Polyethylene is attacked by strongly oxidising substances such as halogens and concentrated inorganic acids such as nitric, sulphuric (including oleum), perchloric, etc.

The resistance table tabulate the chemical and temperature resistance of polyethylene, together with polypropylene and the various elastomeric materials used with the IPLEX METRIC & IPLEX RURAL compression couplings and other mechanical jointing systems.

Chemical Resistance Properties of PVC-U & PVC-M

PVC Pipe systems (PVC-U and PVC-M) have outstanding resistance to a wide range of chemical reagents at temperatures up to 50°C.

In general PVC is suitable to convey most strong acids, alkalies and aqueous solutions (except those which are strongly oxidising), aliphatic hydro carbons, fluorides, photographic and plating solutions, brine, mineral oils, fats and alcohols. The suitability of a PVC pipeline for conveying a given chemical will depend on such factors as: the concentration of the chemical in the fluid to be conveyed, flow rates, the presence of pockets or "dead spots" in the pipeline and other factors, which should be established by reference to Iplex's Technical Marketing Group.

PVC should not normally be used with aldehydes and ketones, ethers, cyclic ethers, esters and aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, nitro compounds, some petrol/benzene mixtures, and similar solvents which lead to a marked swelling and softening of the material.

Consideration should also be given to the effect of the fluid on the rubber ring. Unless otherwise specified, rings of natural rubber will be supplied. Rings compounded in neoprene and styrene butadiene are also available.

Natural rubber gaskets are generally resistant to most inorganic chemicals, including acids, alkalis including salts together with organic acids, alcohols, ketones, and aldehydes. They can be attacked by ozone, strong acids, oils, greases and many hydrocarbons however.

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