Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol is manufactured from vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) via a multistep process. VAM is polymerized into polyvinyl acetate and then converted to polyvinyl alcohol. To access additional literature regarding Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol, please click here. 

When one product has so many applications, we have to continually learn where else it can be useful. Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol is one of these products. Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol is used most widely for adhesives, but it also spans industry and agriculture for emulsion polymerization; films, and packaging; as well as oil field cementing, paper, textiles, ceramics, and seed coating. 

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol’s various grades offer more versatility from one product than any other PVOH product we offer. The key to working with Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol lies in finding the right grade to suit your needs.


Standard Grades

Individual Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol grades vary in molecular weight and degree of hydrolysis. Molecular weight is generally expressed in terms of solution viscosity. The viscosities are classified as ultra low, low, medium and high, while degree of hydrolysis is commonly denoted as super, fully, intermediate and partially hydrolyzed. A wide range of standard grades is available.

In addition to Sekisui Specialty Chemicals’s standard product line, several specialty grades are available, including polymerization, fine particle size and tackified polyvinyl alcohols.

  • Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols 805, 823 and 840 are improved versions of our standard polymerization grades (Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol 205, 523 and 540 polyvinyl alcohols, respectively). These products offer a number of advantages in emulsion polymerization applications including improved water solubility and lower foaming.
  • Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol S-grades are similar to standard grades, but have a fine particle size so that 99+% of the product will pass through a U.S.S. 80-mesh screen. These grades are available commercially as Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol 203S, 205S, 523S and 540S polyvinyl alcohols.
  • Tackified Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols are produced by controlled boration of super hydrolyzed and fully hydrolyzed grades. These borated alcohols yield viscous aqueous solutions, which have a tailored degree of tack and significantly reduce penetration when applied onto surfaces such as paper.

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Solutions

Sekisui Specialty Chemicals offers pre-made solutions of some of our standard grades. A Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol solution eliminates the dissolution step and offers a number of advantages including ready-to-use, improved solution consistency and lower energy and processing cost (no cook required). Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol solutions are only available in the U.S.

Typical Properties

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols have many characteristics which make them useful in a wide range of applications. By choosing from the many Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol grades available, it is possible to obtain the performance properties required for your specific applications-properties such as water solubility, abrasion resistance, tensile strength, adhesive and bonding properties, grease or oil resistance and film forming qualities. Our highly skilled technical service group can help you with Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol grade selection.

Changes Occurring in the Properties of Polyvinyl Alcohol as the Degree of Hydrolysis and Molecular Weight Change


Viscosity / Concentration Relationships of Aqueous Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Solutions at 20 %


Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Molecular Weight

Viscosity Viscosity Type Degree of Polymerization Weight Average Molecular Weight Range
3-4 cps Ultra Low 150-300 13,000-23,000
5-6 cps Low 350-650 31,000-50,000
22-30 cps Medium 1000-1500 85,000-124,000
45-72 cps High 1600-2200 146,000-186,000

Physical Properties

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol combines high tensile strength with ease of film formation. Additionally, Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol resins show excellent adhesive and bonding characteristics.Partially hydrolyzed grades have better adhesion to hydrophobic surfaces.

The degree of hydrolysis affects the water sensitivity of both the resin and film. Water resistance increases with increasing hydrolysis. The super hydrolyzed grades should be used when maximum water resistance and humidity resistance are desired.

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol resins are generally unaffected by greases, petroleum hydrocarbons and animal or vegetable oils. Resistance to organic solvents increases with the degree of hydrolysis. Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol film can be plasticized with glycerol or the lower molecular weight glycols. These materials generally act as humectants, holding water in the film.

Physical Properties of Polyvinyl Alcohol

Appearance White-to-cream granular powder
Bulk Density 40 lbs/cu ft
Specific Gravity— of solid— of 10 wt % solid at 25°C 1.27 – 1.311.02
Thermal Stability Gradual discoloration about 100°C; darkens rapidly above 150°C; rapid decomposition above 200°C
Thermal Conductivity, W/(m•K)3 0.2
Electrical Resistivity, ohm•cm (3.1 – 3.8) x 107
Specific Heat, J/(g•K)b 1.5
Melting Point(unplasticized), °C 230 for fully hydrolyzed grades; 180-190 for partially hydrolyzed grades
Tg, °C (dry film) 75-85
Storage Stability (solid) Indefinite when protected from moisture
Flammability Burns similarly to paper
Stability to Sunlight Excellent

a.  To convert W/(m•K) to (Btu•in)/(h•ft2•F), divide by 0.1441.
b.  To convert J to cal, divide by 4.184.

Chemical Reactions

Polyvinyl alcohol resins react in a manner similar to other secondary polyhydric alcohols. Esterification reactions of polyvinyl alcohol can be carried out with a number of compounds. A commercially important reaction is the formation of tackified PVOH using boric acid or borax to form cyclicesters. This reaction is very sensitive to pH, and an insoluble gel is formed above 4.5-5.0.

Other esterification reactions include those with chloroformate esters to yield polyvinyl carbonate, with urea to yield a polymeric carbamate ester, and with isocyanates to form substituted carbamate esters.

Another commercially important reaction is acetalization with aldehydes. Polyvinyl butyral is produced by the reaction of polyvinyl alcohol with butyraldehyde and is used in the production of the inner adhesive film for safety glass. Reaction with dialdehydes such as glyoxal or gluteraldehyde can be used to crosslink polyvinyl alcohol. Other reactions include ethoxylation, propoxylation and cyanoethylation.

Packaging and Storage

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol products are available in many packages:

  • Granular/Powder product 25 KG, 500 KG, 1000 KG
  • Solutions product 450 LB drums, 2250 LB tote
  • Other packaging may be available.

For more information, please contact us.

Application & End Use Table

View an application and end use table for textiles, adhesives, paper, building products and specialty products.

Click on image below to enlarge.

Products Line

Typical Properties for Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Products

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Grade Viscosity % Hydrolysis % Ash, max
Super Hydrolyzed
125 28.0-32.0 99.3+ 1.20
165 62.0-72.0 99.3+ 1.20
Fully Hydrolyzed
103 3.5-4.5 98.0-98.8 1.20
107 5.5-6.5 98.0-98.8 1.20
310 9.0-11.0 98.0-98.8 1.20
325 28.0-32.0 98.0-98.8 1.20
325LA 28.0-32.0 98.0-98.8 0.60
350 62.0-72.0 98.0-98.8 1.20
Intermediate Hydrolyzed
418 14.5-19.5 91.0-93.0 0.90
425 27.0-31.0 95.5-96.5 0.90
443 53.0-63.0 92.0-94.0 0.90
Partially Hydrolyzed
502 3.0-3.7 87.0-89.0 0.90
203 3.5-4.5 87.0-89.0 0.90
504 4.0-5.0 87.0-89.0 0.70
205 5.2-6.2 87.0-89.0 0.70
513 13.0-15.0 87.0-89.0 0.70
518 17.5-20.5 87.0-89.0 0.70
523 23.0-27.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
540 45.0-55.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
Fine Particles (S-Grade)
165SF 62.0-72.0 99.3+ 1.20
203S 3.0-3.7 87.0-89.0 0.90
205S 3.5-4.5 87.0-89.0 0.70
513S 13.0-15.0 87.0-89.0 0.70
523S 23.0-27.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
540S 45.0-55.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
Specialty – Polymerization
805 5.2-6.2 87.0-89.0 0.70
818 17.0-21.0 87.0-89.0 0.70
823 23.0-27.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
830 29.0-35.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
840 45.0-55.0 87.0-89.0 0.50
Specialty – Textile
WS-724 13.0-24.0 91.0-95.5 1.20
WS-53NF 18.5-29.0 86.0-90.0 1.20
Specialty – Tackified
PH Viscosity Viscosity
MM51 4.4-4.9 1100-1500 1100-1500
MM81 4.4-4.9 1300-1700 1300-1700
MH82 4.4-4.9 4200-5900 4200-5900
Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Solutions
Solution Base Grade % Solids Viscosity
08-125 125 7.0-8.0 100-1300
15-103 103 14.5-15.5 50-500
09-325 325 8.0-9.0 200-1300
09-523 523 8.5-9.5 250-1300
05-540 540 4.75-5.25 50-300
21-205 205 20.0-22.0 800-1300
24-203 203 23.0-25.0 250-1300

Solution Preparation

For most applications, Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols must be dissolved in water prior to use. While S-grades may, under the right conditions, be more cold water processible, all other grades must be cooked. The following procedure is recommended: Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols should first be dispersed in cold or room temperature water using sufficient agitation to wet out all particles with water. (As a general rule, the surface of the water should be moving vigorously.)

Addition rates, solids and cook out temperatures vary by grade as illustrated below. For best results, do not exceed maximum solids. Elevate solution temperature to recommended levels (185-205°F/85-96°C) and hold for 30 minutes.

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols are in solution after cooking and can be used at any temperature.
While the cooking process is straightforward, please be aware of the following pitfalls:

  • All tanks and lines must be free of borax to avoid coagulation.
  • Tanks should have baffles and flush bottom valves to avoid dead spots where polyvinyl alcohol can agglomerate.
  • Failure to reach the minimum temperature will result in undissolved polyvinyl alcohol no matter how long it is cooked.
  • Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols cannot be overcooked. However, boiling will induce foam.
  • Avoid high speed, small diameter mixers. These agitators do not provide adequate mixing and tend to entrain air.
  • If a defoamer is used, it is best to add the defoamer prior to the polyvinyl alcohol addition to the water. A defoamer is not required with Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol 805, 823 and 840 polyvinyl alcohols.
  • If solutions are kept for more than 24 hours, a biocide addition is recommended.
  • Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols may be jet cooked. Unlike starch, which explodes in a steam jet, Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohols will dissolve by shedding layers. Maximizing time in the jet and providing a holding tank for the polyvinyl alcohol solution after the jet (where solutions may be held for a minimum of 15 minutes) will ensure complete solubility.

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Grade Addition Rate Maximum Recommended Solids Minimum Cook-Out temperature
103 10 sec/bag 30% 200°F (93°C)
107 10 sec/bag 20% 200°F (93°C)
310 10 sec/bag 15% 200°F (93°C)
125 10 sec/bag 10% 200°F (93°C)
325 10 sec/bag 10% 200°F (93°C)
165 10 sec/bag 7% 200°F (93°C)
350 10 sec/bag 7% 200°F (93°C)
WS-724 1 min/bag 15% 195°F (91°C)
WS-53NF 1 min/bag 10% 185°F (85°C)
418 1 min/bag 12% 195°F (91°C)
425 1 min/bag 10% 195°F (91°C)
443 1 min/bag 7% 195°F (91°C)
203 2 min/bag 30% 185°F (85°C)
502 2 min/bag 30% 185°F (85°C)
205 2 min/bag 20% 185°F (85°C)
805 2 min/bag 20% 185°F (85°C)
513 2 min/bag 15% 185°F (85°C)
523 2 min/bag 10% 185°F (85°C)
823 2 min/bag 10% 185°F (85°C)
540 2 min/bag 7% 185°F (85°C)
840 2 min/bag 7% 185°F (85°C)
504 2 min/bag 30% 185°F (85°C)
518 2 min/bag 15% 185°F (85°C)


Recommended Additives for Polyvinyl Alcohol*
Type Brand or Generic Name Manufacturer Suggested
Use Level
Crosslinkers Bacote-20
Magnesium Elektron, Ltd.
2 – 10% d/d
5 – 15% d/d
5 – 10% d/d
Defoamers Antifoam 116
DF 132
< 1% d/d
< 1% d/d
Biocides Kathon LX
Dow Chemical
Dow Chemical
< 50 ppm
1000-2000 ppm
Plasticizers Glycerine
Ethylene Glycol


Note: *
The FDA compliance status of the recommended additives should be verified with the respective manufacturer.

Environmental, Health & Safety -MSDS/FDA/CAS#

Please refer to your Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for information on the safe use and handling of Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol, including toxicity, fire and explosion hazards, and environmental effects. An MSDS can be obtained online. MSDS

Sekisui Specialty Chemicals has an Intimate Human Contact (IHC) Policy in effect that restricts use of Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol in applications involving ingestion or contact with human mucous membranes.
Please contact us for more information. Contact Us

FDA Compliance

Polyvinyl alcohol is used in many food contact applications including food packaging adhesives and coatings for paper and paperboard. For more specific information on the FDA status of any of our grades, please contact our Product Information Contact Us

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Right to Know Information

Ingredient Cas Number
Polyvinyl Alcohol
— Super and Fully Hydrolyzed 9002-89-5
— Partially and Intermediate Hydrolyzed 25213-24-5
Water 7732-18-5
Methanol 67-56-1
Sodium Acetate 127-09-3

Product Availability

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol standard and specialty grades are available globally and are supported by a worldwide in-region sales force. Contact us for more information.

Selvol™ E Polyvinyl Alcohol

The product line of Selvol™ E Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) has a wide variety of grades to meet your needs.  Selvol™ E Polyvinyl Alcohol is comprised of standard grades and is denoted by their degree of hydrolysis: fully, intermediate and partially.  The Selvol™ E Polyvinyl Alcohol product line is produced in Tarragona, Spain and primarily supports the European market.

» Click here for the Product Literature page where you can download technical data sheets.

See the chart below for typical properties and applications

Product Line

Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Grade Viscosity % Hydrolysis % Ash, max
Fully Hydrolyzed
E103 3.5-4.5 98.0-98.8 1.2
E305 4.5-5.5 98.0-98.8 1.2
E107 5.5-6.6 98.0-98.8 1.2
E310 9.0-11.0 98.0-98.8 1.2
E325 28.0-32.0 98.0-98.8 1.2
Partially Hydrolyzed
E203 3.5-4.5 87.0-89.0 0.9
E04 / 88LA 4.0-5.0 87.0-89.0 0.9
E05 / 88LA 5.0-6.0 87.0-89.0 0.7
E205 5.2-6.2 87.0-89.0 0.7
E08/88 7.0-9.0 87.0-89.0 0.7
E523 23.0-27.0 87.0-89.0 0.5
Fine Particle (S-Grade)
E203S 3.5-4.5 87.0-89.0 0.9
E205S 5.2-6.2 87.0-89.0 0.7
E523S 23.0-27.0 87.0-89.0 0.5

Selvol™ E Polyvinyl Alcohol Applications E 103 E 305 E 107 E 310 E 325 E 203 E 04 / 88LA E 05 / 88LA E 205 E 08 / 88 E 523
PVAc Emulsion for wood, Paper, Pack packaging, building pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Remoistenable Adhesives pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Water resistant/board laminating/winding, sealing pin-small
Surface Sizing pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Pigment coating pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Release Paper pin-small
Carbonless pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Thermal Paper pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Antigrease Treatment pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Cotton Yarn Sizing pin-small pin-small pin-small
Spun Yarn Sizing Rayon pin-small pin-small pin-small
Spun Yarn Sizing Synthetic pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Filament Yarn Sizing pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Finishing pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Printing pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Nonwovens pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Other Applications
Ceramic Binder & Coating pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Microencapulation pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Mould Release Polyester/Silicone pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Temporary Binder/Powder pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
PVC Polymerization pin-small
Polystyrene pin-small
PVC Production pin-small pin-small
Water Soluble Films pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small