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Polyvinyl Alcohol

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SoapGoods Inc
Price in points: 1969 points
Reward points: 8 points
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About Polyvinyl Alcohol


  • Synonyms: Polyvinyl Alcohol, PVA, Ethenol Homopolymer, Elvanol, Gelvatols, PVOH, Ethenol, homopolymer, Covol, Mowiol, Gelvatol, PVA, Polyviol, Vinol, Alvyl, Alkotex, Covol, Lemol
  • INCI Name: Polyvinyl Alcohol (Film former)
  • CAS: 9002-89-5
  • Einecs: n/a

The Science

  • Viscosity: Solid
  • Solublity: Water Soluble
  • Storage: Cool, dark dry area, air tight container preferred


  • Appearance: Colorless , white
  • Odor: Low to no Odor
  • Natural: Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) is a synthetic polymer that is water-soluble. PVA is prepared by complete or partial hydrolysis of polyvinyl acetate to remove the acetate groups. For fully hydrolyzed and partially hydrolyzed grades the melting point is 230 C and 180 to 190 C. It also decomposes very quickly above 200 C because at high temperatures it can undergo pyrolysis. It is resistant to grease, solvent, and oil and has a high aroma and oxygen barrier properties. It is also flexible with high tensile strength. This property is dependent on the humidity level as the more humidity there exists, the more water is absorbed. Water acts as a plasticizer and increase the tear strength and elongation but will reduce its tensile strength. It is a quick dissolver and is fully degradable.
  • Packaging: .5 Lbs is a single plastic bag, 5 Lb is a single plastic bag, 20 lb is 4 x 5 lb plastic bag. 55 lb is a single bag
  • Shelf life: Suggested retest date 1 year from purchase

Usage / Benefits

  • Industries: Textile industry, papermaking, polymer manufacturing, adhesives, ceramics, personal care and cosmetics, film production, 3D printing, construction, coatings, and packaging.
  • Applications: Water-soluble films, adhesive binder, thickener in cosmetics, emulsion stabilizer, paper coatings, textile warp sizing, photosensitive coatings, soil stabilizers, polymerization aids, protective barrier in welding, and 3D printing support material.
  • Benefits: Water-soluble, biodegradable, non-toxic, excellent film-forming properties, high tensile strength, superior adhesive properties, resistant to grease and oil, good barrier to gases, compatible with many other polymers and resins, provides clear and glossy films.
  • Products Uses: Film coatings, adhesive for paper and textiles, thickener in cosmetics and personal care products, binder in pharmaceuticals, water-soluble packaging, barrier in multilayer packaging films, ingredient in contact lens solutions, emulsion stabilizer, hydrogel applications.
  • Safety: Generally safe, however keep out of eyes and do not eat.
  • Cautions: Not for ingestion, keep away from pets and children who may attempt to eat.
  • External Use Only: Even if food grade, we do not provide items for ingestion, all of our items are for external use only.

Polyvinyl Alcohol

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) is a versatile synthetic polymer, notable for its water solubility and film-forming capabilities. It's derived from polyvinyl acetate through a hydrolysis process. Its unique characteristics have made it a sought-after ingredient in the personal care, soap making, and cosmetics industries.

Chemical Structure and Properties

The structural formula of PVA consists of repeating vinyl alcohol units, which is where the polymer gets its name. It's typically white (or colorless) and odorless, often found in the form of a granular powder. It's known for its excellent film-forming capabilities, good adhesion properties, and resistance to oil, grease, and solvents.


PVA is fully soluble in water, a trait that not only aids its incorporation in aqueous formulations but also lends it the ability to produce clear and shiny films when dried.

Applications in Personal Care, Soap Making, and Cosmetics

Film Former and Binder

Due to its ability to form clear and shiny films, PVA is often used in hair styling products such as hair sprays and gels. These films help to hold hair in place while providing a glossy finish. Similarly, it serves as a binder in powdered cosmetics, ensuring product integrity and enhancing the texture and application of products.


PVA acts as a thickening agent in various cosmetic and personal care products. This attribute enables manufacturers to achieve the desired consistency and feel in lotions, creams, and gels.

Adhesive Properties

The adhesive quality of PVA has led to its use in false eyelash adhesives and nail binders. These products require a substance that can adhere well to the skin but can also be easily removed without causing damage.

Barrier Agent

In cosmetics, especially those that are multi-phase (like emulsions), PVA can serve as a barrier agent, preventing the different phases from separating. This ensures the product remains homogenous and stable throughout its shelf life.

Soap Making

In soap making, PVA is occasionally employed as a mold release or as a component in specialty soaps, imparting a translucent quality. Additionally, its solubility in water allows for innovative soap designs, such as embedding water-soluble PVA films with objects or colors that are revealed as the soap is used.

Advantages of Using Polyvinyl Alcohol

The broad application of PVA in the personal care and cosmetic industries can be attributed to its range of benefits:

  • Non-toxic and Safe: PVA is generally considered safe for use in topical applications. It's non-irritating and doesn't pose any major risks to the skin.
  • Biodegradable: PVA's water-soluble nature means it's biodegradable, addressing some environmental concerns associated with synthetic polymers.
  • Versatility: Its ability to function as a thickener, adhesive, film-former, and barrier agent makes it a multifunctional ingredient, valuable to formulators.
  • Stability: PVA is stable in a variety of formulations, ensuring the longevity and efficacy of products in which it's incorporated.

Polyvinyl Alcohol Uses

1. Adhesives

PVA is commonly used as a base for adhesives, including woodworking glues and paper bonding agents. Its strong bonding properties make it suitable for a wide range of applications.

2. Textile Industry

In the textile industry, PVA serves as a sizing and finishing agent, providing enhanced strength, flexibility, and appearance to fabrics.

3. Packaging

PVA's film-forming ability allows it to be used in packaging materials, offering moisture resistance and protection for various products.

4. Construction

As a construction material, PVA is used in concrete, mortars, and sealants to improve workability, cohesion, and long-term performance.

5. Coatings and Paints

In the coatings industry, PVA is employed as a binding agent in paints and varnishes, contributing to gloss, durability, and adhesion to surfaces.

6. Medical and Pharmaceutical Applications

PVA's biocompatible and non-toxic nature enables its use in medical applications, such as eye drops, wound dressings, and controlled-release drug delivery systems.

7. Water-Soluble Films

The production of water-soluble films is another common use of PVA. These films are utilized in packaging for detergents, agrochemicals, and other products that require controlled release in water.

8. 3D Printing

PVA serves as a support material in 3D printing, being utilized as a temporary structure that can be dissolved in water after the printing process is complete.

9. Food Industry

As a thickening and stabilizing agent, PVA is used in various food products, contributing to texture, consistency, and quality.

10. Environmental Applications

Its biodegradable nature makes PVA an attractive choice for environmentally friendly products, such as biodegradable plastics and eco-friendly packaging.

11. Cosmetic Industry

In cosmetics, PVA is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and film-former, contributing to the formulation of creams, lotions, and other personal care products.

12. Optical Industry

PVA is used in the production of polarized films for optical devices, including liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and lenses.

Polyvinyl Alcohol Benefits

Solubility in Water

Polyvinyl Alcohol has excellent water solubility, allowing for easy preparation and handling in various applications, including adhesives, coatings, and films.

Film Forming Ability

PVA's ability to form transparent and robust films is widely used in the packaging industry, as well as in applications like coatings and protective barriers.

Adhesive Properties

Its strong adhesive properties make PVA suitable for use in glues, especially in woodworking and paper products. This contributes to its wide application in various industries.


Being biodegradable, Polyvinyl Alcohol is considered an environmentally friendly polymer. It breaks down over time, reducing environmental impact and waste.

Chemical Resistance

PVA offers resistance to oils, greases, and solvents, making it useful in applications where these properties are required.

Compatibility with Other Polymers

Its compatibility with other polymers allows PVA to be used in conjunction with various materials, enhancing the properties and applications of the resulting products.

Use in Medical Applications

Due to its non-toxic nature and unique physical properties, PVA is also used in medical and pharmaceutical applications, such as in eye drops and controlled-release tablets.

Stabilizing Agent

Polyvinyl Alcohol serves as a stabilizing agent in emulsions and suspensions, maintaining the consistency and quality of products over time.

Thickening Properties

PVA can act as a thickening agent, providing control over the viscosity of various formulations, from paints to personal care products.


Polyvinyl Alcohol Polymer

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) is a synthetic polymer known for its versatile properties and applications:

1. Molecular Structure

Polyvinyl Alcohol is composed of repeating vinyl alcohol units. Its structure includes a backbone of carbon atoms with attached hydroxyl (-OH) groups.

2. Water Solubility

PVA is water-soluble, and its solubility can vary based on factors such as degree of polymerization and degree of hydrolysis.

3. Film-Forming Ability

PVA can form clear and flexible films when dissolved in water, making it suitable for various applications, including packaging and coatings.

4. Adhesion and Binder

PVA's adhesive properties make it useful as a binder in applications like paper, textiles, and adhesives for various materials.

5. Biodegradability

Polyvinyl Alcohol is biodegradable under specific conditions, making it environmentally friendly in certain applications.

6. Pharmaceutical and Medical Use

PVA is used in pharmaceuticals for controlled-release drug delivery systems and in medical applications such as surgical gloves and contact lenses.

7. Emulsifying Agent

PVA can serve as an emulsifying agent in various formulations, aiding in the dispersion of immiscible substances.

The Versatility of Polyvinyl Alcohol

Polyvinyl Alcohol's molecular structure and unique properties enable its application in diverse fields, including packaging, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and more.

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How Fast Can I get it?

We Guarantee Your order ships out the same or next business day! This means in the South East you will have your order in 1 to 3 business days, in the North East normally 3 to 4 days and in the West normally 4 to 5 days. For full details on shipping and processing times please see our expected delivery times.

These times are based on business days, not including weekends or holidays.

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USPS Transit Times

Typical Delivery Times to Major US Cities

Major Cities Total Business Days +1 / -1
Alabama (AL) - Montgomery, Birmingham 1
Alaska (AK) - Juneau, Anchorage 7
Arizona (AZ) - Phoenix, Tucson 4
Arkansas (AR) - Little Rock, Fayetteville 2
California (CA) - Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose 4
Colorado (CO) - Denver, Colorado Springs 3
Connecticut (CT) - Hartford, New Haven 2
Delaware (DE) - Dover, Wilmington, Newark 2
Florida (FL) - Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Destin 2
Georgia (GA) - Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Athens 1
Hawaii (HI) - Honolulu, Kailua 7
Idaho (ID) - Boise, Coeur d'Alene 4
Illinois (IL) - Springfield, Chicago, Peoria, Rockford 2
Indiana (IN) - Indianapolis, Fort Wayne 2
Iowa (IA) - Des Moines, Cedar Rapids 2
Kansas (KS) - Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City 2
Kentucky (KY) - Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington 2
Louisiana (LA) - Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette 2
Maine (ME) - Augusta, Portland, Bangor 3
Maryland (MD) - Annapolis, Baltimore 2
Massachusetts (MA) - Boston, Cambridge, Worcester 2
Michigan (MI) - Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids 2
Minnesota (MN) - St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth 3
Mississippi (MS) - Jackson, Biloxi, Hattiesburg 1
Missouri (MO) - Jefferson City, St Louis, Kansas City 2
Montana (MT) - Helena, Billings 4
Nebraska (NE) - Lincoln, Omaha 2
Nevada (NV) - Carson City, Las Vegas, Reno 4
New Hampshire (NH) - Concord, Manchester, Portsmouth 2
New Jersey (NJ) - Trenton, Newark, Jersey City 2
New Mexico (NM) - Santa Fe, Alburquerque 3
New York (NY) - Albany, New York, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Niagara Falls, Ithaca 3
North Carolina (NC) - Raleigh, Charlotte 2
North Dakota (ND) - Bismarck, Fargo 3
Ohio (OH) - Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati 2
Oklahoma (OK) - Oklahoma City, Fairview, 2
Oregon (OR) - Salem, Portland, Eugene 5
Pennsylvania (PA) - Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh 2
Rhode Island (RI) - Providence, Newport 2
South Carolina (SC) - Columbia, Charleston 1
South Dakota (SD) - Pierre, Sioux Falls, Rapid City 3
Tennessee (TN) - Nashville, Memphis 2
Texas (TX) - Austin, Houston, Dallas 3
Utah (UT) - Salt Lake City, St. George 3
Vermont (VT) - Montpelier, Burlington 3
Virginia (VA) - Richmond, Virginia Beach 2
Washington (WA) - Olympia, Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane 5
West Virginia (WV) - Charleston, Morgantown 2
Wisconsin (WI) - Madison, Milwaukee 2
Wyoming (WY) - Cheyenne, Jackson 4

Disclaimer: All product descriptions and specifications provided in this description are intended as a guide only and are subject to change without notice. While we strive for accuracy, discrepancies or errors may be present. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

5 Lb

Safety Data Sheet (Polyvinyl-Alcohol.pdf, 118 Kb) [Download]

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We use this for slime base in our science after school programs. Works well.
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We use this for slime base in our science after school programs. Works well.
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