Polyvinyl pyrrolidone

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Structural formula
Structural formula of polyvinylpyrrolidone
Surname Polyvinyl pyrrolidone
other names
  • 1-ethenyl-2-pyrrolidone homopolymer
  • Poly [1- (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidinyl) ethylene]
  • Povidone ( INN )
  • Polyvidon
  • 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone polymer
  • PVP ( INCI )
CAS number 9003-39-8
Monomer Vinyl pyrrolidone
Molecular formula of the repeating unit C 6 H 9 NO
Molar mass of the repeating unit 111.14 g mol −1
Type of polymer

water soluble polymer

Brief description

white hygroscopic powder

Drug information
Drug class

Film maker

Physical state



1.2 g cm −3

Glass temperature

130-175 ° C


easily soluble in water

safety instructions
GHS labeling of hazardous substances
no GHS pictograms
H and P phrases H: no H-phrases
P: no P-phrases
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used. Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions .

Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), also known as polyvidone or povidone ( INN ), is a linear polymer of the compound vinylpyrrolidone . PVP is a hygroscopic , amorphous powder with a white to light yellow color.


Polyvinylpyrrolidone, a product derived from acetylene chemistry , was invented by Walter Reppe (BASF) and a patent was applied for in 1939 (German Reich patent no. 737663). It was first used as a blood plasma replacement in World War II and is now used in a wide variety of applications in medicine , pharmacy , cosmetics and the technical industry.


N -Vinylpyrrolidone, the monomer

Due to its amorphous structure, PVP has no melting point , but only a glass transition temperature , which is between 110 and 180 ° C depending on the degree of polymerization . PVP dissolves in both water and a variety of organic solvents . In strongly acidic solutions, the lactam ring hydrolyzes to form an amino acid group. Under alkaline conditions and at elevated temperatures , the chains crosslink to form water-insoluble products. The starting material vinylpyrrolidone is classified as category 3 carcinogenic . The polymer can be said to be non-toxic.

Common names are mainly povidone , PVP or periston . A distinction is made here, for example, between:

  • Povidone K-30
  • Povidone K-90

The K value is a common classification in the plastics industry and is directly related to the mean molar mass of the polymer. This means that the degree of polymerization and thus the chain length can be inferred indirectly from the K value.


Polyvinylpyrrolidone is used as an adjuvant in the pharmaceutical industry. It is usually used as a binding agent in drugs (especially tablets ) and can influence the release of the active ingredient into the body. The cross-linked products control the disintegration of the tablet. In eye drops for ' dry eye ' it is used to increase the viscosity of the eye drops. It was previously used in emergency medicine as a blood plasma expander . As an iodine solution, ointment or cream ( trade name Betaisodona , Braunol ), PVP-iodine , which is one of the iodophores , has established itself in medical wound treatment, with a 3% povidone-iodine (PVP-I) as a liposomal hydrogel being a significant shows better effectiveness and tissue compatibility in the moisturizing of wounds . In food it is mainly used as a binding and thickening agent, stabilizer and coating agent. It is approved in the EU as a food additive with the designation E 1201 without maximum quantity restriction only for dietary supplements in tablet or dragee form. In the case of color detergents , PVP is used as a color transfer inhibitor to reduce the transfer of dyes to other textiles during the washing process. It is used in shampoos as a thickener, in hairsprays and in toothpastes . The adhesives of old postage stamps and envelopes contain PVP, as do glue sticks and hot melt adhesives . It is also used as a special aid in the production of batteries , ceramics , glass fibers , ink-jet inks and paper and for chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP). It is used in water-based metal quenching baths . PVP is used as an emulsifying and dispersing agent in solution polymerizations . In addition, PVP is used for various coatings: as a photoresist for the manufacture of cathode ray tubes (CRT); for the production of membranes for micro and ultrafiltration , in particular for use in dialysis and drinking water filtration ; as the blocking agent of non-specific protein binding sites on the membranes in the Southern blot ( Denhardt's solution ), Northern blot and Western blot and as a coating material in the synthesis of nanoparticles , an aggregation of the particles to prevent, for example when the ammunition of the gene gun . It is also used as a binding and complexing agent in special agro-applications, such as seed treatment and coating, herbicide and insecticide formulations.


Polyvinyl polypyrrolidone (PVPP), also called crospovidone , is cross-linked polyvinyl pyrrolidone . As a food additive (E 1202), PVPP is used as a technical auxiliary in the beverage industry. As a stabilizing agent, it binds unwanted tannins and polyphenols in wine, beer and juices, which are then filtered out with it. It is also used in medicinal tablets as a disintegrant (disintegrant).

The properties of the VP homopolymers can be varied in a targeted manner by incorporating selected comonomers into the polymer chain. Suitable comonomers are e.g. B. N- vinylimidazole , vinyl acetate and vinyl caprolactam . Vinyl pyrrolidone / vinyl acetate copolymers are used in particular as thickeners and hydrophilic hot melt adhesives (glass temperature approx. 105 ° C.).

Individual evidence

  1. Entry on PVP in the CosIng database of the EU Commission, accessed on January 20, 2020.
  2. a b c d Entry on polyvinylpyrrolidones. In: Römpp Online . Georg Thieme Verlag, accessed on August 4, 2019.
  3. a b c Safety data sheet polyvinylpyrrolidone (povidone K25) November 27 , 2018 , Caelo - Caesar & Loretz GmbH, accessed on August 5, 2019.
  4. ^ F. Haaf, A. Sanner and F. Straub: Polymers of N-Vinylpyrrolidone: Synthesis, Characterization and Uses . In: Polymer J. . 17, No. 1, 1985, pp. 143-152. doi : 10.1295 / polymj.17.143 .
  5. Stephan Bauer, Frank Fischer: A jack-of-all-trades in chemistry - polyvinylpyrrolidone . In: Chemistry in Our Time . 43, No. 6, 2009, pp. 376-383. doi : 10.1002 / ciuz.200900492 .
  6. Alexander Göthlich, Sebastian Koltzenburg, Gunnar Schornick: Functional polymers in everyday life: Versatile . In: Chemistry in Our Time . 39, No. 4, 2005, pp. 262-273. doi : 10.1002 / ciuz.200400346 .
  7. Volker Bühler: Excipients for Pharmaceuticals - Povidone, Crospovidone and Copovidone . Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York 2005, ISBN 3-540-23412-8 .
  8. Reimer K, et al. : An Innovative Topical Drug Formulation for Wound Healing and Infection Treatment: In vitro and in vivo Investigations of a Povidone-Iodine Liposome Hydrogel . In: Dermatology . 201, No. 3, 2000, pp. 235-241. doi : 10.1159 / 000018494 .
  9. Stephan Bauer, Frank Fischer: Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP): a versatile special polymer - used in ceramics and as a metal quenching medium . In: Ceramic magazine . 61, No. 6, 2009, pp. 382-385.
  10. Kallum M. Koczkur, Stefanos Mourdikoudis, Lakshminarayana Polavarapu, Sara E. Skrabalak: Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in nanoparticle synthesis . In: Dalton Trans . 44, No. 41, 2015, pp. 17883-17905. doi : 10.1039 / c5dt02964c .