Plastic piping systems: What are the advantages? __

Plastic piping systems: What are the advantages?
25. August 2022 4 min.

Modern plastics have conquered many areas of application that were previously reserved for metallic materials. The products for modern piping systems come from the group of thermoplastics, but in which industries are plastic pipes used?

They are useed in domestic installations, industrial plants, or for surface heating. A comparison between plastic and metal should show you that reservations about plastic systems are unfounded.

Overview: Every plastic is different 

Plastics are produced by converting natural products or by sythesising basic elements. Crude oil, natural gas, or coal serve as starting materials. The main components of these plastics are carbon and hydrogen. Plastics are extremely diverse in their properties and possible uses and most cases they are recyclable. 

Differences: Polypropylene and other plastics

Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic material. PP is produced by polymerisation, the linking of monomeres to macromolecules. The material can be adapted to the desired application by copolymerisation with other plastics and by adding reinforcing materials, fillers, and additives.

In terms of strength and stiffness, polypropylene lies between those of polythylene and engineering plastics such as polyamide (PA). The load-bearing capacity of polypropylene is high and thanks to its light and thermal mouldability and favourable mechanical properties, polypropylene is suitable for may areas of application, such as in the automotive industry, construction industry, nmedical technology, and packaging. 

Did you know?

aquatherm has been procesing polypropylene for more thn 40 years and has relied on its own PP formulations. These are developed and monitored in the labatory. Our suppliers manufacture base polymeres according to our specifications.


Comparison: Advantages of plastic pipelines compared to metallic systems

What are the strengths of plastic piping systems compared to metal systems? A multitude of advantages can be named here:

The strengths of plastic pipes in brief:

  • They are not susceptible to corrosion.
  • Plastic pipes are particularly durable.
  • They have significantly lighter weight than pipes made of metal.
  • Plastic pipes are "bendable" and therefore flexible.
  • Plastic pipes have a high resistance to chemicals.
  • They have a high abrasion resistence.
  • Pipes made of plastic are sustainable and recyclable.
  • No tools with open flames are necesary when processing plastic pipes.
  • Most plastic pipes are cheaper due to their raw material costs.


The advantages of plastic pipes over metallic systems in detail

Further details on the aspects mentioned can be found in the following overview.

The corrosion safety

Compared to materials made of metal, plastics have a clear advantage in terms of corrosion resistance.

For example, the corrosion-resistant material polypropylene from aquatherm is resistant to many acids and alkalis in the field of chemical transport.

Without special internal coatings, metal pipes are very susceptible to corrosion. However, this coating does not protect metal pipes from external corrosion.

The long service life

Pipes made of plastics are now known for their long service life. You can expect a service life of around 100 years from high-quality pipe systems made of PP, PE, and PVC.

Metal pipes without special coatings have a shorter service life. Metal pipes that are coated have a similarly long service life.

The chemical resistance

Nowadays, plastic pipe systems can be used in chemical plant construction without any problems taking into account the chemical resistance of the material. This strength of chemical resistance is also used in areas such as industrial plant construction.

Piping systems made of metal are more vulnerable or cost-intensive, as they require special coatings for this form of resistance.

The low weight

Compared to metal pipes, plastic pipes are significantly lighter. This makes transport and installation not only easier, but also more economical.

While lifting equipment is often used for laying metal piping systems, this equipment is used less frequently when laying plastic piping systems.

The flexibility of the tube

Systems made of plastic are often referred to as "flexible" due to their flexibility. Plastic pipes that are laid under the ground can pass on point loads and stresses to the ground by means of deformation. The pipe is not subject to any additional loads.

Rigid pipe systems, for example on concrete or metal, must absorb these stresses in their pipe wall.

The high abrasion resistance

The inner walls and the substances that are transported by pipe systems continuously rub against each other which can result in mechanical abrasion.

Piping systems made of materials such as concrete or metal have a lower abrasion resistance than plastic piping. Thanks to their high abrasion resistance, plastic pipes have a long service life.

The sustainability and recyclability

Plastics are very sustainable and conserve existing resources. In addition, after their use, plastics can easily be recycled for materials, raw materials, or energy without a high energy input. Thermoplastics, for example, are 100% recyclable.

A lot of energy is needed to produce and process metal - which makes pipes made of the material less sustainable. However, like plastics, metal pipes are recyclable.

No flying sparks during processing

Plastic pipe systems from aquatherm are convincing when it comes to connection technology: With the help of suitable tools, the pipe and fitting are heated and can be easily joined together. In this process, the plastic melts into a homogeneous, materially bonded, and thus permanently secure unit.

When processing metals, sparks or smouldering parts may occur. The welding tool, which has an open flame, and the processing operation are potential fire hazards.

The low raw material costs

The production of plastic pipe systems is cheaper than the production of metallic systems. This is mainly due to the cost of the raw materials needed to create them. The necessary resources are cheaper for plastic pipes than the raw materials for metal.

Sustainability at aquatherm

We support the 17 goals to which the global community committed itself in 2015 with the "Agenda 2030". aquatherm is a member of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB e.V.) and works with non-profit organisations on sustainable solutions for the future. In our company, all our processes are geared towards the conservation of valuable resources, the minimisation of energy use, and the avoidance or recycling of waste. For more information about our sustainability efforts, please visit our website:

Our website


Conclusion: Piping systems made of plastic: Are you already benefiting from the advantages?

Thanks to their consistently high performance, low environmental impact, flexibility, and flow advantages, plastic pipes are ideal for numerous applications.

At the same time, they provide effective and durable solutions to the challenges of modern life in all types of environments.

Convince yourself of plastic pipes and their diversity in terms of application possibilities and functionalities by visiting our project pages. Here, we show you how aquatherm green, aquatherm blue, and aquatherm red satisfy and inspire our customers in practice again and again.

Find out what to look out for when converting to engineered polymer piping systems in our blog post:

Blog: Converting to engineered polymer piping systems