PVC is polyvinyl chloride that has plasticizers added to make it flexible, while PVCu is the same material without plasticizers added. PVCu is a more rigid and durable plastic.
The two types of polyvinyl chloride, PVC and PVCu, are both plastics used in a wide range of materials. The main difference between these two is that the former has plasticizers added to it that soften the material and make it more flexible.
PVC is flexible, inexpensive and durable. It is commonly used in pipes, cable insulation, toys and clothing. The amount of flexibility can be controlled with the amount and strength of plasticizers added to the formula. Less plasticizers allow for the creation of still hard piping, while more plasticizers create a soft material for insulation or clothing and plastic curtains. This material is easy to cut cleanly and takes well to adhesives.
PVCu, also sometimes listed as uPVC, is stiff, rigid and strong. This material does not have plasticizers added. It is used in pipes, window frames, as a replacement for wood in construction and in medical or dental appliances. It is often found on the home exterior as this durable plastic will not change shape when exposed to the elements. It is also used in plastic pipes as PVCu features smooth inner walls for improved water flow and it is resistant to chemical erosion.