Q. We want to embed rigid polyvinyl-chloride pipe in concrete to allow drainage under a golf-cart path. The engineer won't allow this because chemicals in the concrete might attack the PVC. I know PVC has been widely used in this sort of application, but I'm unable to find documents on concrete's chemical reactivity with plastic.
A. According to Bernard Erlin, the principal chemicals in concrete that could conceivably attack plastics are calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Erlin cites a table from Handbook of Chemistry and Physics stating that rigid PVC has excellent resistance to strong alkalies.
Bernard Erlin, "Embedded Metals and Materials Other Than Reinforcing Steel," Significance of Tests and Properties of Concrete and Concrete-Making Materials, STP 169C, ASTM, West Conshohocken, Pa., 1994, p. 179.