Plastic Tubing

The first public demonstration of manmade plastic was in 1862. The rest, as they say is history. Since then, there have been several innovations in the world of plastic. That has included plastic bags, plastic wrap, and plastic tubing.


Interestingly, the history of plastic tubing is basically rooted in the Hula Hoop craze of the 1950s. That’s when two men named Robert Banks and Paul Hogan made a crucial discovery: crystalline polypropylene. Polyethylene is an inexpensive type of plastic material that’s extremely durable and chemical-resistant. Hogan and Banks discovered that ethylene could help to produce a similar type of plastic. Ethylene is Earth’s most prolifically produced type of organic compound.

However, actually producing plastic tubing was more challenging than you might expect. Even after the Phillips Petroleum Company had spent a small fortune to develop the plastic product’s manufacturing process, there was initially little demand for the resin product. That changed towards the end of the 1950s. Polyethylene became a crucial material for various products, such as liquid detergent bottles and baby bottles. Interestingly, the huge success of the Hula Hoop resulted in several new applications for polyethylene-including a new and exciting type of plastic tubing.

One could argue that the history of plastic tubing dates back to early humans’ interest in finding an effective way to transport various fluids (such as water) from Point A, to Point B. Throughout history, concrete and steel first functioned as the main materials for transporting fluids. We can trace the history of plastic piping to the 1930s. That’s when it functioned as a method for drainage. The early uses of polyethylene were to coat electrical cables, and later to insulate radar.


Here are some of the most common types of soft plastic tubing on the market:

ABS Pipe: To impress your friends and relatives, you can explain to them that “ABS” refers to the resin Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene. The main benefits of this type of plastic piping are that they’re cheaper and easier to install than metal piping is. In addition, this type of tubing doesn’t rust, corrode, or rot. It also provides excellent “flow” of liquids.

Acrylic Tubes: Some of the main benefits of this type of tubing include its excellent transmission of light, durability, superior clarity, excellent machining properties, and heat-resistant properties.

CPVC: This type of plastic tubing is similar to PVC. The main difference is that it’s more heat-resistant. This makes it ideal for applications involving both cold and hot water supply.

PVC: This is definitely one of the most popular types of plastic tubing on the market. It’s quite inflexible and chemical-resistant. Another key benefit of PVC piping is that it’s available in a rainbow of colors. PVC piping has a wide array of different applications, such as water piping and drainage.


Here are some of the main benefits of soft plastic tubing over other types of tubing:

1. Materials

Not all plastic tubing is alike. For instance, the different resins they contain can make them effective for different types of applications. Some plastic tubing is extremely durable and ideal for certain applications. Meanwhile, other types of plastic tubing are less durable, and are better suited for applications that require less durability.

2. Color

While your plastic tubing won’t be entering a fashion show, there are situations in which color-coding of the plastic piping is needed. When that’s the case, you can choose certain types of plastic tubing (such as PVC) that are available in a rainbow of colors.

3. Price

While plastic tubing isn’t free, it’s certainly affordable when compared to the cost of other materials, such as metal. Yes, there are different grades of plastic tubing, and they each have different price tags. But the general cost of plastic tubing is significantly lower than other materials.

4. Flexibility

Plastic is much more flexible than other materials, making it ideal for certain applications that require more flexibility. While some types of plastic tubing (such as PVC) are more rigid, they are still an excellent option when choosing tubing.

5. Durability

Many types of plastic tubing are heat-resistant and chemical-resistant. These properties are especially useful for certain applications that involve particularly harsh conditions, such as extremely hot or cold temperatures. Amazingly, even the soft types of plastic tubing can be extremely durable.