Selvol Polyvinyl Alcohol is commonly used for adhesives, but it also widely used in industry and agriculture in emulsion polymerization, films and packaging, as well as oil field cementing, paper, textiles, ceramics, and seed coating. As a top polyvinyl alcohol supplier, we are continually developing new applications and products featuring polyvinyl alcohol.
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.
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.
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 your 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
Degree of Polymerization
Weight Average Molecular Weight Range
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
White-to-cream granular powder
40 lbs/cu ft
Specific Gravity— of solid— of 10 wt % solid at 25°C
230 for fully hydrolyzed grades; 180-190 for partially hydrolyzed grades
Tg, °C (dry film)
Storage Stability (solid)
Indefinite when protected from moisture
Burns similarly to paper
Stability to Sunlight
Notes 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.
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:
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 processable, 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 PVOH 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.
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.
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 Technical Services.
Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol Right to Know Information
— Super and Fully Hydrolyzed
— Partially and Intermediate Hydrolyzed
Selvol™ Polyvinyl Alcohol standard and specialty grades are available globally and are supported by a worldwide in-region sales force.Contactus 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.