Today, people are shouting for a change in waste disposal and plastic consumption. The awareness has pushed people to go green, especially in the industrial process. The Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) solution grabbed the attention as it supports advocacy. It gives manufacturing companies the chance to be part of the environmental movement.
The innovation has created several possibilities that involve improvement in the manufacturing process. With the PVA solution as the emerging fundamental choice for packaging, what is it made of?
Introducing PVA Solution
The PVA solution, or polyvinyl alcohol, is an odorless, colorless, and water-soluble polymer. It is mainly made of 1,3-linkages and a few 1,2-diols, which depends on the conditions during the polymerization.
Manufacturers use it in several coating applications. It has high-quality effectiveness in film formation, emulsification, and adhesion. They introduce the PVA solution to companies as it is biocompatible and biodegradable.
The polymerization of PVA is either partial or complete hydrolysis. Wherein, the polyvinyl acetate removes the acetate groups. How is the PVA solution made?
Creation of PVA Solution
Vinyl acetate monomer is the key material in creating PVA. The monomer is from the polymerization of vinyl acetate. It undergoes partial hydrolysis, in which the ester group is partially replaced with a hydroxyl group. The aqueous sodium hydroxide completes the process. After this, the PVA solution is precipitated, washed, and dried.
There are two ways to create a solution. It can undergo the conventional heating method or the microwave heating method.
In the conventional heating method, polyvinyl alcohol powder is dissolved in water. Meanwhile, a gradual heat is introduced to the solution and it is intensively stirred at a high speed. The heat should be at a temperature of 90 °C to 100 °C. After this, the result should be a clear and transparent solution.
In the process, it is a need to prevent water evaporation to maintain the consistency of the solution.
Meanwhile, the microwave heating method involves a 1-liter borosilicate glass beaker and 40 grams of PVA. You need hot tap water to fill the liter and stir the mixture. Once done, you have to cover the beaker with a microwaveable plastic wrap. Place it inside a microwave, set it on high for about 3 minutes. After this, stir the mixture again and heat it for another 3 minutes.
When creating a PVA solution, most recommend using tap water. The tap water provides a safe solution as bacteria grows faster in distilled water.
Wide Use of PVA Solution
Through the years, the market has used the biodegradable polymer. It was in 2016 when the highest consumption of PVA solution. With this scenario, strict regulations were imposed for the disposal of the solution. As the landfill availability decreases, the demand for the product increases.
As we all know polyvinyl alcohol has a biodegradable quality. Thus, using PVA in product packaging is a lucrative decision. But, PVA is more than that, it is in demand in several markets. With its unique structure, it is capable of few substitutes.
Today, the largest manufactures in the market are in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. Last 201, reports have shown that the Asia Pacific produced an estimate of 580.3 kilotons of PVA solution. By then, the predictable trend in the PVA solution projects a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% until 2025. With its large scale application and usability, is PVA solution harmless?
Is PVA Solution Safe?
With the wide usage of the PVA solution, its safety and environmental considerations were noted. The biodegradability and toxicity of the product have become the peak of interest.
Manufacturers use PVA solution as a coating agent for food supplements. The product does not pose any risks to the consumer's health. In 2016, food packaging has become one of the leading use of PVA. Meanwhile, food authorities notice moisture formation. Thus, a PVA film is added, it is thin and water-resistant making it more beneficial to the food industry.
Freshwater sports fishing also uses PVA, it is attached to the hook as dry fishing bait. From the description of PVA, it is water-soluble. The solution contains up to 5% of the solution, which is nontoxic to fishes. When it lands on the water, the PVA breaks down, the hook bait is detached. But, even after the hook bait attracts the fish, it is harmless and the plastic dissolves in water.
Furthermore, PVA is interesting as it is used in pharmaceutical applications. It is beneficial for coating medicines, and some of its chemical properties have benefits in health applications. But, there are still regulations in the use of PVA on food and drugs.
It is undeniable that the production of manufacturing industries is unstoppable. But, some of its processes are damaging the environment. PVA solution gave a possibility of raising environmental awareness. With the biodegradability and usability of the PVA solutions, it has been a great help to the industry and environment.