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[3A Composites, Airex AG, Switzerland] A series of white rigid foamboards made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The FOREX® product range has lightweight, stable sheet materials for a wide range of indoor and outdoor uses. The boards can be worked with methods and tools used for wood. The boards may be coated with optional Polyethylene (PE) protective film (none, one sided, or two sided PE coating available). One-sided PE is standard for Forex Classic.

Four grades of FOREX® are available:

  • FOREX® Classic: white, lightweight (density=0.7); standard product; PE film on one side
  • FOREX® Print: white, economical (30% cheaper); less rigid and resistant (density=0.5); PE film on one side
  • FOREX® Color: Tinted (9 colors); density=0.6; cannot be used outdoors; PE film on one side
  • FOREX® Smart: PVC-free version made from polystyrene; density=0.2; available as white or black

Synonyms and Related Terms

FOREX®; Forex®; PVC Board

Similar products include Sintra (3A Composites), Komacel (Kommerling), Komatex (Kommerling)

For comparison with alternates, see


  • digital printing; screen printing; signage; lettering
  • displays; exhibition design
  • interior design; partitions/cladding; furniture
  • shop design/shop fitting

Personal Risks

  • Harmful to health when inhaling or ingesting dust and vapors during unpacking, sawing, grinding and thermoforming.
  • Ensure good ventilation and dust extraction on processing machines and at other places where dust may develop.
  • Hazardous thermal decomposition products: Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • SDS sheet link

Collection Risks

Research by Greg Smith and Michael Samide report that some rigid, unplasticized PVC construction boards give off a sulfur containing heat stabilizer (2-ethylhexyl thioglycolate [2-EHTG]) that can tarnish silver [1]. However, they also reported finding several specific brands of PVC construction board, namely Komacel (Kommerling) and e-PVC (3A Composites) are safe for use in exhibition casework as they do not contain 2-EHTG.

Links to Oddy Test results posted on AIC Wiki Materials Database Pages for individual materials below

° Forex Classic AIC Wiki for Oddy tests Tested in 2013 (British Museum -pass for permanent use)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Stable in normal conditions. Avoid temperatures > 180 °C.

  • Insoluble in: Water, sea water, acids and bases, aliphatic hydrocarbons.
  • Soluble in: Aromatic hydrocarbons,ketones, chlorinated hydrocarbons.
  • Softening temperature: > 80 °C
  • Thermal decomposition: > 180 °C
  • Ignition temperature: > 450 °C
  • Apparent density: 430 – 700 kg/m3

Working Properties

  • Simple mechanical processing with standard tools for working with wood and plastic
  • Three dimensional forming using cold/hot bending and thermoforming.
  • Sheet can be used for structural applications
  • Does not hold fasteners as it is not as dense as other PVC Boards.
  • Store away from immediate and dangerous sources of ignition.
  • Danger of electrostatic charges when stored in very dry areas.

Resources and Citations

  • [1] Assessing the Suitability of Unplasticized Poly(Vinyl Chloride) for Museum Showcase Construction, Michael J. Samide and Greg Smith, 2020 Link
  • CCI Technical Bulletin 32 - Products Used in Preventive Conservation Link
  • FOREX®: website
  • FOREX®: Technical sheet

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