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Acrylate Monomers: Foundational to Optimizing Paints & Coatings, Adhesives & Sealants, and More

published on January 28, 2019

Acrylate monomers, perhaps the most versatile group of monomers in all of chemistry for commercial development, are used in the production of polymers where formulators can "dial in" multiple attributes, such as rigidity and flexibility, ionic and nonionic, functionalized or non-functionalized, and hydrophobic or hydrophilic functions, etc.Acrylic copolymer formulations often contain four or more different monomers. Since the final glass transition temperature is vital in controlling polymer properties, it is important to note that we can estimate the glass transition temperature of a random copolymer by using the weight fraction of the different monomers and their Tg values for the homopolymer. Reference Tg values for several key monomers are shown below. Glass transition temperatures, Tg (°C), of various monomers used in acrylic copolymers:

Monomer Tg (°C)
MMA 105
Butyl Methacrylate 20
Vinyl Acetate Monomer 30
Glacial Methacrylic Acid 228
Glacial Acrylic Acid 87
Butyl Acrylate -45
2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate -65 

Let’s take a look at the world of acrylate monomers, and how they make a difference in the development of multiple polymers with wide commercial application.

 

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is foundational for many acrylate polymers and is an essential comonomer in paint, coatings, and adhesives resin formulations. In free radical-initiated copolymers, MMA elevates the Tg (glass transition) and contributes durability, strength, transparency, and UV- and abrasion-resistance.

The principal use for the MMA monomer is to form polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) homopolymer for the production of cast and extruded acrylic sheets. In addition, outside of glazing and sheet applications, the largest use for MMA is as a comonomer in paints and coatings, such as exterior paints and paper coatings. 

 

Butyl Acrylate (BA) 

N-butyl acrylate (BA) is the largest-volume acrylate ester used in the production of all-acrylic, vinyl acrylic and styrene acrylic copolymers.  BA offers price value and accounts for about 60 percent of the global acrylic ester monomer demand, with a consumption volume of over 2,000 kilo tons. 

N-butyl acrylate is the major base acrylic ester monomer used in the manufacture of copolymers for paint & coatings, adhesives & sealants, printing inks, thermoplastic ethylene-acrylate copolymers, and a myriad of other application areas.  BA is a versatile building block for copolymers, contributing excellent weathering and sunlight resistance, low temperature performance, hydrophobicity, and water resistance.

 

2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate (2-EHA)

2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate (2-EHA) is a highly versatile building block that readily copolymerizes with a wide variety of other acrylic and vinyl monomers to tailor specific high molecular weight copolymer properties for a diverse range of non-rigid applications.

The attributes of 2-EHA include a low Tg of -65 °C affording low temperature flexibility, increased water resistance and weathering stability with suitability for external applications, and a low order of toxicity while facilitating softness and tack in a copolymer.


Glacial Acrylic Acid (GAA)

Glacial acrylic acid monomer (GAA) is an unsaturated carboxylic acid comonomer used as a building block to produce acid functional and crosslinked acrylic copolymers and polyacrylic acids. Copolymers which contain GAA can be solubilized or exhibit-improved dispersions in water; the carboxylic acid moiety can be used for coupling or crosslinking reactions, as well as improved adhesion. GAA copolymers are used in the form of their free acid, ammonium salts or alkali salts. These polymeric uses for GAA account for approximately 45 percent of the consumption of acrylic acid monomer (the manufacture of acrylate esters is the other major use).

Glacial acrylic acid offers significant advantages as a co-monomer in a wide range of acrylic and vinyl acrylic polymer-based finishes, coatings, adhesives, sealants, finishes, inks, flocculants, thickeners, dispersing agent, lubricants, saturants and plastics. Other copolymer uses of GAA, especially with acrylamide co-monomer, include oil-field drilling fluids, fracking systems, mining processing chemicals, detergent builders, water treatment chemicals, and superabsorbent materials (SAPs).


Glacial Methacrylic Acid (GMAA)

GMAA is a clear and colorless liquid at room temperature that is polymerized quickly. GMAA can be used to produce homopolymers and copolymers. When it is utilized in copolymers it lowers the softening temperature as well as decreases hardness. GMAA also provides improved adhesion and flexibility in polymers for paints and adhesives.

Glacial Methacrylic Acid has many applications, but the primary application is in polymers that go into paints, coatings, soil improvers, varnishes, leather and textiles.


Diacetone Acrylamide (DAAM)

Diacetone acrylamide (DAAM) is a white crystalline solid with a melting point of 57oC.  DAAM is an acrylic type monomer, used as a crosslinking monomer to make functional copolymers.  Furthermore, DAAM can be readily copolymerized with vinyl acetate and other acrylic monomers. It affords durable emulsion polymers, water-soluble resins, sizing agents, thickeners, coatings, adhesives and sealants when crosslinked with through addition of adipic dihydrazide (ADH), also available from Gantrade (we provide the technology for using the DAAM-ADH crosslinking system).


Caprolactone-modified (Meth)acrylate Macro-monomers

Cross-linkable, caprolactone-modified (meth)acrylate macro-monomers are acrylics used in automotive coatings, plastic and elastomer coatings, cementitious coatings, powder coatings, paints, adhesives, and printing inks.  The hydroxyalkyl caprolactone (meth)acrylates may also be reacted with isocyanates to produce urethane acrylates used in UV-cured coatings and 2K polyurethanes. These oligomeric urethane acrylates improve durability and impact resistance, adhesion, weatherability, and flexibility. For these reasons, formulators use them in clear-coat automotive formulations, both 2K urethanes and UV cure.


Vinyl Trimethoxysilane (A-171)

GC-Si 171 is a versatile organo-silane coupling agent containing a vinyl group and a trimethoxy silyl moiety.  The vinyl functionality copolymerizes with unsaturated monomers such as vinyl acetate and acrylic esters, or it can be grafted to polymers such as polyethylene, SBR, and polyesters. After copolymerization or grafting, the trimethoxy silyl functionality is reactive with a broad range of surfaces, especially those containing hydroxyl functionality, to enhanced adhesion. This product offers silane and vinyl functionality and can also be used as a chain extension of OH functional polymers or RTV silicones.


Methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane (A-174)

GC-Si 174 is a silane coupling agent used to improve adhesion, increase dry and wet strength properties, and improve electrical properties of coatings, adhesives and composites.  The methacryloxy moiety can be directly copolymerized with vinyl and acrylic monomers to afford moisture curable systems. Application areas include coatings, adhesives and sealants/caulks to promote adhesion to select surfaces and for moisture cure characteristics.


Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM)

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is a colorless liquid compound that is a precursor to polyvinyl acetate. In addition, VAM is an important intermediate used in the manufacturing of various polymers and resins that are used for the production of adhesives, coatings, paints, textiles and films. Overall, the largest derivative of VAM is polyvinyl acetate, which is primarily used in adhesives as it has strong adhesive properties to a versatile array of products such as paper, wood, and plastic films. Polyvinyl alcohol is the second-largest consumer of VAM, and PVOH is primarily used in textiles, adhesives and packaging films.

Although the primary use of VAM is to manufacture PVA and PVOH, which accounts for close to 80 percent of global VAM production, the remaining amount goes into the production of PVB, EVA copolymers and EVOH resins.

 

Vinyl Neodecaonate

Vinyl neodecanoate monomer (VNM) is a readily polymerizable vinyl ester of a branched C10 carboxylic acid. The long-chain ester structure contributes to the enhancement of key performance properties of vinyl copolymers, vinyl-ethylene terpolymers and vinyl-acrylic copolymers. Polymers containing VNM exhibit greatly improved hydrolytic and alkali resistance, corrosion and scrub resistance, and water repellency.  End-use applications where vinyl neodecanoate is used include emulsion copolymers for industrial, architectural and automotive coatings, decorative paints, water repellent systems, adhesives including pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs), construction adhesives, latex cementitious additives and redispersible powders, and non-woven and textile binders.

Key properties contributed by vinyl neodecanoate include corrosion protection, water resistance, chemical resistance, and adhesion to hydrophobic surfaces like polyolefins.


Contact Gantrade for Your Acrylate Monomer Needs

Gantrade is a leading global supplier of vinyl and acrylic monomers for the paints & coatings, adhesives & sealants, and elastomers, inks, and textiles markets. Our global presence, supply reliability, and extensive experience with vinyl and acrylic monomers have been key to the value we provide to our customers. A listing of our diverse monomer families for these market segments, including summary information and specifications is provided below.


Gantrade’s portfolio of vinyl and acrylic monomers include the following:

  • Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)
  • Butyl Acrylate (BA)
  • 2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate (2-EHA)
  • Glacial Acrylic Acid (GAA)
  • Glacial Methacrylic Acid (GMAA)
  • Diacetone Acrylamide (DAAM)
  • Caprolactone Modified Meth(acrylates) (CLMA)
  • Vinyl Trimethoxysilane (A-171)
  • Methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane(A-174)

Contact Gantrade today for your acrylate monomer needs. We can help you match the right product to your market application and desired attributes.

Topics: Acrylate Monomers