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Using DSC to Determine the Quality of PVC


Failure of unplasticized poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC-U) pipes and fittings may be related to any factors, such as design, installation, abuse and/or manufacturing. A successful failure investigation may require detailed analysis of all these factors to determine the primary cause of failure. This paper will review current techniques that use aggressive chemicals to qualitatively assess the quality of this PVC pipe or fitting. The paper will also review a technique that utilizes differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This technique can accurately determine the temperature at which the part was manufactured. It is also able to determine the percent gelation of the PVC material, which is directly related to the mechanical properties of the part.

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Paul Gramann, PhD, PE

Paul Gramann is one of the founders and current President of The Madison Group. Dr. Gramann received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he served as an adjunct professor within the Mechanical Engineering Department. He is dedicated to design verifications and failure analysis of thermoplastic, elastomeric and thermoset parts. His expert testimony has been invaluable in numerous depositions and trials for both defense and plaintiff counsels.