What is vinyl?

  • Posted on
  • 3.6.15

When you're playing your beloved record classics it's one of the most fulfilling and comforting feelings in the world, watching that beautiful disc spin. But did you ever stop to think how that record substance came to be?

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A vinyl record is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat polyvinyl chloride (previously made with shellac) disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. So intricate with all it's rigid grooves on each side and the groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. Phonograph records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12", 10", 7"), the rotational speed in rpm at which they are played. The quality of the sound heavily relies on how good the quality of the actual vinyl is.

Vinyl chloride (CH2=CHCl), also known as chloroethylene, is most often obtained by reacting ethylene with oxygen and hydrogen chloride over a copper catalyst. It is a toxic and carcinogenic gas that is handled under special protective procedures. PVC is made by subjecting vinyl chloride to highly reactive compounds known as free-radical initiators. Under the action of the initiators, the double bond in the vinyl chloride monomers (single-unit molecules) is opened, and one of the resultant single bonds is used to link together thousands of vinyl chloride monomers to form the repeating units of polymers (large, multiple-unit molecules).

The chemical structure of the vinyl chloride repeating units is:

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