Methyl cellulose

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


Methyl cellulose

This non-toxic, plasma-consistency substance is a weak adhesive. However, our main use for it, in its pure state, is for cleaning the spines of books which are being re-cased or put into new cases. Methyl cellulose serves as an excellent solvent of hide glue, some modern adhesives, and will to some degree soften PVA, given sufficient time to do so. It is also the additive used with PVA to make PVA mixture. Methyl cellulose is purchased in powdered form and mixed with water to bring it to its usable state. The powder is of a somewhat granular texture. As a result, the use solution has a slightly granular consistency as well; rather like tapioca, but to a less pronounced degree.


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