PVA sponge

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A porous, hydrophilic sheet composed of Polyvinyl alcohol. The PVA sponge absorbs up to 12 times its dry weight in water. The flexible, soft fabric has good mechanical strength and abrasion resistance even when wet. It is lint-free, static free, and resistant to biological growth.

During World War II, British defense scientists discovered PVA Sponge while searching for alternative plastic materials to replace balsa wood. PVA Sponge is very lightweight when dry, but quickly softens when exposed to water or other liquids. Decades later, Japanese scientists discovered a resin treating method to make PVA Sponge resemble balsa wood by remaining lightweight and rigid when exposed to moisture. During the 1950s, a U.S. doctor started testing and trials were made with PVA Sponge for medical applications. PVA Sponge eventually became the chosen material for internal and external surgical procedures, primarily because it would not tear, leave residual debris, could be easily sterilized, and was approved by the FDA.

Synonyms and Related Terms

PVOH sponge (sp)


For chemical resistance: Chart (Accessed Oct 2022)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Resistant to organic solvents, acids and alkalis.

Resources and Citations