Ductile Iron vs PVC Pipes: Which is the Better Option?

The material of pipe fittings influences a lot of factors in the overall performance of the units. This is why companies think it through meticulously in choosing the ideal material before ordering the pipe fittings for a project(di pipe fittings for sewage).

Now, there are quite a few material options available when it comes to selecting pipe fittings, but the application for which it will be used has an impact in the decision-making for material. For instance, experts recommend di pipe fittings for sewage applications.

Today, we will be focusing on two pipe fittings materials – ductile iron and PVC. Continue to read till the end to learn which one is the better option among the two.

Ductile Iron & PVC materials

Ductile Iron is mainly composed of recycled iron and steel scrap, therefore, making it a recyclable material and apparently has no end of life. It is a flexible conduit which allows it to offer robust performance and less likely to shear under stress from ground shifts or normal soil pressure that typically happens throughout the life cycle of the water system.

PVC material is made from carbon (primarily derived from gas and oi via ethylene) and chlorine (derived from salt). In comparison to the strength of Di pipes, the PVC pipes are fragile. Additionally, PVC is composed of zero recycled content and hence, it can only be down-cycled. This material is made to be rigid by adding a stabilizer one at a time. The addition of lead or organotins are used for stabilizers which makes them a potentially health hazardous material.

How the Choice Between the Two Materials Matter?

A major university’s water pipe project recently involved installation of 36-inch dual DI pipelines right underneath a sensitive building on campus. The lines were installed for transporting water to a chiller system and in result cool other buildings.

 Ductile iron was the chosen piping material for the project mainly because of its ability to withstand heavy pressures from the structure present above it and the ground shifts occurring underneath. Experts did not consider picking PVC material pipes since they are weak in nature and have a high tendency to burst into small fragments due to intense pressures. The DI on the other hand, will obliterate in such a case.

Additionally, PVC materials have a track record of suffering from catastrophic failures. This includes not just loss of water pressure or some water but a complete loss of water. This kind of instability can be hugely hazardous in seismic prone areas.

PVC made pipes can also cause hazardous damages in areas that are prone to wildfires.


If we compare the permeation rate between the two materials then it can be said that ductile iron is impermeable and hence, can protect the water supply from toxic infiltration. Whereas, the PVC material due to its composition that includes polyvinyl chloride may be subjected to permeation due to its low molecular weight organic solvents or petroleum-based products.

Capacity to Take On High-profile Installations

Would you trust plastic-based material for high-profile projects such as bridges? This is why Ductile Iron material is the most preferred choice for intensive installation projects such as bridges, etc.

Di pipe fittings have contraction and expansion capabilities that are primary requirements for such installations. Also, there is unavailability of trench support over a bridge so as to handle PVC pipes versus Di pipes that do not need any trench support. In fact, there are several above-ground installations over bridges where the Di pipe fittings excel.

Penstocks are one such installation that are intended for redirecting streams down a mountain to the power plant. These lines are frequently subjected to intense high pressures mainly due to head pressures and elevation alterations. Here the physical properties of DI pipes are yet again better performing than the PVC material pipes, therefore, making Di pipe fittings the ideal choice for high-profile installations.

Fire Protection

 Fire hydrants are important fire protection solutions that give a sense of security. However, for such heavy-duty performance, a PVC made hydrant will be completely useless. Instead, fire hydrants are mostly made of ductile iron material.

The standpipe of the hydrants are made of this material as well. Although, there are times when a section of the pipe in-between the Di has an installation of PVC material purely with the intention of saving money. Nonetheless, the PVC pipe fittings are not directly connected to the section of the hydrant because of the potential thrust forces in that area.

On the other hand, DI pipes are non-combustible in nature and can brilliantly withstand the intense stress and pressure from the fire. In case of an emergency, the DI pipes can be trusted to deliver a reliable and safe supply of water for firefighting purposes.

PVC material pipes are combustible and are very much problem causing for fire protection applications.

Key Takeaways

Well, if we compare the capacities of the two materials it can be rightly said that Di pipe fittings are predominant in every way possible compared to PVC pipe fittings. PVC might offer economical solutions but they are not meant for installation in heavy-duty work mechanisms. 

On the contrary, DI pipes are ideal for a large number of applications. So, whether you are looking for Di pipe fittings for sewage or any other application, make sure to consider ductile iron material.

For more information on ductile iron material pipe fittings, get in touch with an expert supplier now.


Dutco Tennant LLC has been a leader in supplying various kinds of industrial and engineering solutions for diverse industry verticals from construction to networking to electrical and we established a good company profile. Dutco Tennant LLC supplies products to a high-status list of corporate and government projects, and has contributed to the creation of world class private and public infrastructure such as water and wastewater projects, airports, exhibition centers, shopping malls, networking infrastructure, hospitals, hotels, universities and offices around the Middle East and GCC region.

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