News Releases 2004

Kuraray Develops High-Quality, Low-Cost, Environmentally Friendly
Next-Generation Poval HP Polymer

Jan 14, 2004
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Kuraray Co., Ltd. announced that, using its original technology, it has developed and is marketing a next-generation poval HP polymer that offers higher performance and superior operating characteristics.

Poval (polyvinyl alcohol) is a functional resin first commercialized by Kuraray, and is a raw material for vinylon fiber. This superior synthetic polymer has the unique property of water solubility, is suitable for film formation, has adhesive and emulsification properties, and is resistant to oils and chemicals. Because of these characteristics, its applications have expanded beyond the initial use as a raw material in the production of vinylon fiber and film to include a broad range of applications, such as its use as a stabilizer for emulsion polymerization, a paper sizing, an adhesive, and a stabilizer for polyvinyl chloride polymerization. With a share of the world poval market of approximately 30%, Kuraray is the top producer of this vital material.

At the distribution stage, poval is supplied as a dry powder. For almost all applications, there is a need first to dissolve it in water. This means that the ease with which it dissolves has a large effect on all related manufacturing processes. Kuraray brought the unique technology it has amassed over its long years of operation to bear on improving the solubility of the newly developed HP polymer. Accordingly, users in a wide spectrum of fields have found that it contributes to stable product quality through the reduction of labor requirements, improved energy efficiency, and higher reactivity.

This next-generation poval HP polymer offers new possibilities in general merchandise, and, as more users are introduced to its useful characteristics, it is highly possible that applications will emerge in many fields.

Benefits to the User

Savings of labor and energy in manufacturing processes

Energy savings through higher-concentration solutions
The process of drying poval solution consumes the most energy in the manufacturing produces. Reducing drying time, therefore, reduces energy consumption.
Higher efficiency and lower energy consumption
Less time and heat are required to dissolve the new HP polymer than previous povals. In addition to increased manufacturing efficiency and reduced energy consumption, the new HP polymer also makes it possible to create a safer workplace.
<Comparison of solubility characteristics>

Conditions -- Temperature: 80℃; concentration: 10 %;
agitator speed:300 rpm; time: 30 min. 200 mesh filter was used.

Stabilization of quality

Consistent quality of stabilizer for emulsification
Stable polymerization is obtained with less of the new HP polymer than with previously available materials, which allows reductions in manufacturing costs.
Improved stability of viscosity
This HP polymer is very stable at low temperatures and high concentrations, contributing to stability of quality in products in which it is used.

Conditions -- Temperature: 30℃ concentration: 25%; setting time: 1 week.
Improved foaming
In the past, it was necessary to add small amounts of antifoaming agent to reduce foam in poval. Minimization of this in the new product reduces the risk of problems with product quality caused by antifoaming agents.
<Comparison of foaming>
Older poval
Conditions -- Humidity: 4%; temperature: 20℃ solution shaken ten times.

Reduced environmental impact

Superior biodegradability
The new HP polymer has been shown to exhibit superior biodegradability in comparison to standard povals, and is extracted from wastewater using activatedsludge with greater efficiency than standard povals.