Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Product Information

Manufacturers commonly use Selvol polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) for adhesives. However, the industry and agriculture sectors also use it in emulsion polymerization, films and packaging, as well as in oil field cementing, paper, textiles, ceramics and seed coatings.

As a top PVOH supplier, SEKISUI continually develops new applications for and products featuring PVOH.

Manufacturers make Selvol PVOH from vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) via a multistep process. They polymerize VAM into polyvinyl acetate and then convert it to PVOH.

Would you like more information? Learn about Selvol PVOH here.


Selvol PVOH grades offer incredible versatility in one core product. In fact, it’s the most versatile PVOH product we offer. The key to working ideally with Selvol PVOH is finding the grade that suits your needs.

Standard Grades

Each Selvol PVOH grade varies in molecular weight and degree of hydrolysis.

We generally express molecular weight in terms of solution viscosity. First, we classify the viscosities as ultra low, low, medium and high. We commonly denote the degree of hydrolysis as super, fully, intermediately and partially hydrolyzed. Additionally, we offer a wide range of standard grades.

In addition to SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals’ standard product line, we provide multiple specialty grades. These include polymerization, fine particle size and tackified PVOHs:

  • Selvol PVOHs 805, 823 and 840 are improved versions of our standard polymerization grades (Selvol PVOHs 205, 523 and 540, respectively). These products offer many advantages in emulsion polymerization applications, including better water solubility and lower foaming.
  • Selvol PVOH S-grades are similar to our standard grades. However, they have a fine particle size so that more than 99% of the product passes through a U.S.S. 80-mesh screen. These grades are available commercially as Selvol PVOHs 203S, 205S, 523S and 540S.
  • Tackified Selvol PVOHs are products of the controlled boration of super-hydrolyzed and fully hydrolyzed grades. These borated alcohols yield viscous, aqueous solutions. These solutions also have a tailored degree of tack and significantly reduce penetration when applied to surfaces such as paper.

Selvol Polyvinyl Alcohol Solutions

At SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals, we provide premade solutions of some of our standard grades. A Selvol PVOH solution eliminates the dissolution step and creates distinct advantages:

  • Ready-to-use, improved solution consistency
  • Lower energy costs
  • Lower processing costs (no cooking required)

Please note Selvol PVOH solutions are available in the U.S. only.

Selvol PVOH grades have unique characteristics that make them useful in an array of applications.

By choosing from the many available Selvol PVOH grades, you can obtain the performance properties necessary for your specific applications. You can expect properties like these:

  • Water solubility
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Tensile strength
  • Adhesive and bonding properties
  • Grease or oil resistance
  • Film-forming qualities

Contact our highly skilled technical service group. They can help you select your ideal Selvol PVOH grade.

Changes in PVOH Properties as the Degree of Hydrolysis and Molecular Weight Change

molecular weight graphic

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

viscosity in centipoises graphic

Selvol Polyvinyl Alcohol Molecular Weight

Viscosity Viscosity Type Degree of Polymerization 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 PVOH combines high tensile strength with ease of film formation. Additionally, Selvol PVOH resins show outstanding adhesive and bonding characteristics. Partially hydrolyzed grades adhere better to hydrophobic surfaces.

Furthermore, the degree of hydrolysis affects both the resin’s and the film’s water sensitivity. Water resistance increases as hydrolysis increases. You should use our super-hydrolyzed grades when you need maximum water resistance and humidity resistance.

Greases, petroleum hydrocarbons and animal or vegetable oils generally don’t affect Selvol PVOH resins. Resistance to organic solvents also increases alongside the degree of hydrolysis. When necessary, you can plasticize Selvol PVOH film with glycerol or lower molecular weight glycols. These substances usually act as humectants to hold water in the film.

Physical Properties of PVOH

Appearance White-to-cream granular powder
Bulk Density 40 lbs per cu ft
Specific Gravity — of solid — of 10 wt % solid at 25°C 1.27 – 1.311.02
Thermal Stability Gradual discoloration at about 100°C, rapid darkening above 150°C and 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 and 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

PVOH resins react similarly to other secondary polyhydric alcohols. You can produce PVOH’s esterification reactions with a number of compounds. A commercially important reaction is the formation of tackified PVOH using boric acid or borax to form cyclic esters. This is a very pH-sensitive reaction, and an insoluble gel forms above 4.5-5.0.

Other esterification reactions include the following:

  • Those with chloroformate esters to yield polyvinyl carbonate
  • Those with urea to yield a polymeric carbamate ester
  • Those with isocyanates to form substituted carbamate esters

Another commercially important reaction is acetalization with aldehydes. PVOH’s reaction with butyraldehyde produces polyvinyl butyral, which manufacturers use while producing interior adhesive film for safety glass. You can use its reaction with dialdehydes, such as glyoxal or gluteraldehyde, to crosslink PVOH.

Other reactions include ethoxylation, propoxylation and cyanoethylation.

Packaging and Storage

We offer Selvol PVOH products in several packages:

  • Granular/powder product in 25 kilograms, 500 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms
  • Solutions product in 450-pound drums and 2,250-pound totes
  • Other packaging, as needed and available

Please contact us for more information.

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

Click the image below to enlarge.

Download file (35KB)


Typical Properties of Selvol PVOH Products

Selvol PVOH 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
Intermediately 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 PVOH 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, you must dissolve Selvol PVOHs in water before use. While S-grades may be more cold water-processable under the right conditions, you must cook all other grades.

We recommend first dispersing Selvol PVOHs in cold or room-temperature water using sufficient agitation to wet out all particles. As a general rule, ensure the surface of the water is moving vigorously.

Addition rates, solids and cook-out temperatures vary by PVOH grade, as we illustrate below. For the best results, don’t exceed maximum solids. Raise the solution’s temperature to recommended levels (185-205°F/85-96°C), and then hold for 30 minutes.

Selvol PVOHs are in solution after cooking, and you can use them at any temperature.

Although 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 PVOH can agglomerate.
  • Failing to reach the minimum temperature results in undissolved PVOH, no matter how long you cook it.
  • You can’t overcook Selvol PVOH, although boiling induces foam.
  • Avoid high-speed, small-diameter mixers. These agitators don’t provide adequate mixing and tend to trap air.
  • If you use a defoamer, it’s best to add it before adding the PVOH to the water. A defoamer is unnecessary with Selvol PVOHs 805, 823 and 840.
  • If you keep solutions for more than 24 hours, we recommend adding a biocide.
  • You can jet-cook Selvol PVOH. Unlike starch, which explodes in a steam jet, Selvol PVOH dissolves by shedding layers. To ensure complete solubility, maximize time in the jet and provide a holding tank for the PVOH solution after the jet (where you can hold solutions for a minimum of 15 minutes).
Selvol PVOH 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 PVOH*
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 Glycerin
Ethylene glycol


Please verify the FDA compliance status of the recommended additive with its manufacturer.

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. You can access an MSDS online.

SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals has an intimate human contact (IHC) policy in effect. This IHC policy restricts the use of Selvol PVOH in applications involving ingestion or contact with human mucous membranes.

Please contact us for more information.

FDA Compliance

Manufacturers use PVOH in many food contact applications, including food packaging adhesives and paper or paperboard coatings. For more specific information on the FDA status of any of our grades, please contact our Technical Services team.

Selvol PVOH Right To Know Information

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

Product Availability

Selvol PVOH standard and specialty grades are available globally. SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals supports sales with an in-region, worldwide workforce. 

Contact us for more information.

Selvol E PVOH

The Selvol E PVOH line has a wide variety of grades to meet your needs. Overall, Selvol E PVOH comprises standard grades, which we denote by their degree of hydrolysis: fully, intermediately or partially. We manufacture the Selvol E PVOH product line in Tarragona, Spain, and the line primarily supports the European market.

Please see the product literature page to download technical data sheets.

Explore the chart below to learn the line’s typical properties and applications.

Selvol PVOH 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 PVOH 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, 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 resistance/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
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 and coating pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Microencapsulation pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small pin-small
Mold 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


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