Formvar refers to any of several thermoplastic resins that are polyvinyl formals, which are polymers formed from polyvinyl alcohol and formaldehyde as copolymers with polyvinyl acetate. They are typically used as coatings, adhesives, and molding materials.[1]

IUPAC name
Polyvinyl formal
  • 63450-15-7
  • none
ECHA InfoCard 100.109.921 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 613-229-1
  • DTXSID401009625 Edit this at Wikidata
Appearance White to straw colored powder
Density 1.23 g/mL
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

"Formvar" used to be the registered trade name of the polyvinyl formal resin produced by Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis, Missouri. That manufacturing unit was sold and formvar is now distributed under the name "Vinylec".[2]


Formvar is used in many different applications, such as wire insulation, coatings for musical instruments, magnetic tape backing, and support films for electron microscopy.[3] Formvar is also used as a main ingredient for special adhesives in structural applications such as the aircraft industry.[4]

Magnet wireEdit

The major application of formvar resins is as electrical insulation for magnet wire. It is combined with other "wire enamels" which are then coated onto copper wire and cured in an oven to create a crosslinked film coating.[5]

Transmission electron microscopyEdit

Most specimens used in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) need to be supported by a thin electron-transparent film to hold the sample in place.[6] Formvar films are a common choice of film grid for TEM. Formvar is favored because it allows users to utilize grids with lower mesh rating.

Physical characteristicsEdit

Formvar resin has a high softening point and strong electric insulation properties. It is also very flexible, water-insoluble, and resistant to abrasion. Formvar is also halogen free. Formvar resins are combustible and can cause dust explosions. For this reason exposure to heat, sparks, and flame should be avoided. Formvar is most commonly dissolved in ethylene dichloride, chloroform, and dioxane.[7]


  1. ^ "Formvar". Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  2. ^ Wiley-VCH (25 April 2016). Ullmann's Polymers and Plastics, 4 Volume Set: Products and Processes. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1156–. ISBN 978-3-527-33823-8.
  3. ^ Michael J. Dykstra; Laura E. Reuss (31 December 2003). Biological Electron Microscopy: Theory, Techniques, and Troubleshooting. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 245–. ISBN 978-0-306-47749-2.
  4. ^ G. C. Mays; A. R. Hutchinson (22 August 2005). Adhesives in Civil Engineering. Cambridge University Press. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-0-521-01815-9.
  5. ^ Charles A. Harper; Edward M. Petrie (10 October 2003). Plastics Materials and Processes: A Concise Encyclopedia. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 785–. ISBN 978-0-471-45920-0.
  6. ^ Linda C. Sawyer (6 December 2012). Polymer Microscopy. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-94-009-3139-8.
  7. ^ Tor Savidge; Charalabos Pothulakis (5 April 2005). Microbial Imaging. Elsevier. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-0-12-521535-0.

External linksEdit

  • Industrial Glues