PVC comes in two basic forms: rigid (sometimes abbreviated as RPVC) and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. It is also used for bottles, other non-food packaging, and cards (such as bank or membership cards). It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. In this form, it is also used in plumbing, electrical cable insulation, imitation leather, signage, inflatable products, and many applications where it replaces rubber.Pure poly(vinyl chloride) is a white, brittle solid. It is insoluble in alcohol but slightly soluble in tetrahydrofuran.
PVC's relatively low cost, biological and chemical resistance and workability have resulted in it being used for a wide variety of applications. It is used for sewerage pipes and other pipe applications where cost or vulnerability to corrosion limit the use of metal. With the addition of impact modifiers and stabilizers, it has become a popular material for window and door frames. By adding plasticizers, it can become flexible enough to be used in cabling applications as a wire insulator. It has been used in many other applications. In 2013, about 39.3 million tonnes of PVC were consumed worldwide. PVC demand is forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 3.2% until 2021.