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Poly vinyl pyrrolidone

PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone, povidone, polyvidone) is a water-soluble polymer made from the monomer N-vinyl pyrrolidone:


Registry Numbers and Synonyms

CAS Number: 9003-39-8

Molecular Formula: C6H9NO

Merck 13, 7783

MFCD: MFCD00149016

1-Ethenyl-2-pyrrolidoinone homopolymer (IUPAC); Poly[1-(2-oxo-1-pyrrolidinyl)ethylene]; polyvidone; polyvinylpyrrolidone; PVP; 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone polymer


PVP is soluble in water and other polar solvents. In water it has the useful property of Newtonian viscosity. When dry it is a light flaky powder, which readily absorbs up to 18% of its weight in atmospheric water. In solution, it has excellent wetting properties and readily forms films. This makes it good as a coating or an additive to coatings.


The monomer is carcinogenic and is extremely toxic to aquatic life. However the polymer PVP in its pure form is so safe that not only is it edible by humans, but it was used as a blood plasma expander for trauma victims after the first half of 20th century.[clarify]

It is used as a binder in many pharmaceutical tablets; being completely inert to humans, it simply passes through the body. PVP added to Iodine forms a complex; in solution it is known under the trade name Betadine.

PVP binds to polar molecules exceptionally well, owing to its polarity. This has led to its application in coatings for photo-quality ink-jet papers and transparencies, as well as in inks for inkjet printers.

PVP is also used in personal care products, such as shampoos and toothpastes, in paints, and adhesives that you have to moisten, such as old-style postage stamps and envelopes. It has also been used in contact lens solutions and in steel-quenching solutions. PVP is the basis of the early formulas for hair sprays and hair gels, and still continues to be a component of some.

As a food additive, PVP is a stabilizer and has E number E1201. PVPP is E1202. It is also used in the wine industry as a fining agent for white wine. Such white wine is not suitable for vegans, as PVPP is a dairy derivative.[1].

In molecular biology, PVP can be used as a blocking agent during Southern blot analysis as a component of Denhardt's buffer. It is also exceptionally good at adsorbing polyphenols during DNA purification. Polyphenols are common in many plant tissues and can deactivate proteins if not removed and therefore inhibit many downstream reactions like PCR.

PVP is also used in many technical applications:

  • as adhesive in glue stick and hot melts
  • as special additive for batteries, ceramics, fiberglass, inks and inkjet paper
  • as emulsifier and disintegrant for solution polymerization
  • as photoresist for cathode ray tubes (CRT)
  • use in aqueous metal quenching
  • for production of membranes, such as dialysis filter
  • as binder and complexation agent in agro applications such as crop protection, seed treatment and coating
  • as a thickening agent in tooth whitening gels4

Material Safety Data Sheet

MSDS for PVP from EMD Chemicals

Cross-linked derivatives

A cross-linked form of PVP is also used as a disintegrant in pharmaceutical tablets. 1 cross linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVPP) - is used to bind impurities to remove them from solutions. Basically, PVPP is a more highly cross-linked version of PVP, which makes it insoluble in water. This means that it can be used as a fining to extract impurities (via agglomeration followed by filtration). Similarly PVPP can also be taken as a tablet to absorb compounds causing diarrhoea. (Cf. bone char, charcoal.)

See also



  1. ^ Stormhoek white wines are deemed non-vegan, according to this source.

External References

  1. Kollidon® Accessed November 26, 2007
  2. Luvitec® Accessed November 26, 2007
  3. Polyplasdone Crospovidone Accessed November 3, 2005
  4. United States Patent 6730316
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Poly_vinyl_pyrrolidone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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