Ask the Experts:  Glacial Acrylic Acid (GAA) Monomer

Glacial Acrylic Acid Monomer, commonly known by the acronym GAA, is an unsaturated carboxylic acid co-monomer used by Gantrade customers as a building block to produce acid-functional and crosslinked acrylic copolymers and polyacrylic acids. These copolymers and polyacrylic acids are then used to optimize a number of products including finishes, coatings, adhesives, sealants, inks, flocculants, thickeners, dispersing agents, lubricants, saturants and plastics. 

Use of GAA is on the rise, around the world and in some diverse industry sectors. Recently, TMartin Kaczmarczyk, Benjamin Stoess, and Gareth Williams from our product team sat down to discuss GAA and its growing demand worldwide.


You’re seeing increased interest in Glacial Acrylic Acid worldwide. What’s behind the higher demand?

Martin: “GAA is in higher demand right now because of the performance capabilities it adds to a formulation, but also its ability to play well with other chemicals during processing. It’s a high-performance additive that also helps with easier processing when you’re trying to optimize a finish or coating, and lots of manufacturers are seeing the GAA value proposition and bringing it into their portfolios.”


Are you seeing interest rise in specific geographies and industries?

Benjamin: “GAA 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).


What’s the value proposition for Glacial Acrylic Acid?

Gareth:  Specifically, GAA is easy to work with and brings about several performance attributes that formulators desire. It easily copolymerizes with acrylic and methacrylic esters, ethylene, vinyl acetate, styrene, butadiene, acrylonitrile, maleic esters, vinyl chloride and vinylidene chloride. That’s a big list that impacts a lot of products across a lot of industries.  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, and improved adhesion.” 


How does Glacial Acrylic Acid improve product performance?

Benjamin: “Acrylic co-polymer emulsions and dispersions produced using GAA are able to achieve multiple performance attributes. GAA is great for crosslinking, polarity, and dispersibility. It also adds a lot of toughness and tensile properties from hydrogen bonding.  You get improved adhesion to polar surfaces and fillers especially, and the more GAA you use, the more adhesive the end mix becomes.”


How about processing?

Gareth: “GAA is a real asset when it comes to more efficient processing. 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, and improved adhesion. GAA copolymers are used in the form of their free acid, ammonium salts or alkali salts.

Martin: “These polymeric uses for GAA account for approximately 45 percent of global consumption of acrylic acid monomers, so using GAA is popular and getting moreso.”


Is Glacial Acrylic Acid as prevalent in conjunction with organofunctional silanes?

Benjamin: “Yes. Organofunctional silanes are often used to modify GAA copolymers to enhance adhesion to surfaces like glass, glass fibers, metals, silica and other mineral fillers, and concrete. Silane-modified acrylic copolymers also improves the compatibility and dispersability of fillers in a polymer matrix.”

Martin:  “The most common organofunctional silanes used to modify GAA copolymers are the aminosilanes and glycidyl silanes. The silane adhesion promoter acts as a strong molecular bridge between chemically different materials. The benefits include Improved adhesion to both wet and dry surfaces. You also get increased moisture and solvent resistance. From an application standpoint, you see improved wetting of fillers and surfaces, improved filler dispersion, and improved mechanical properties.”


What can formulators expect when adding Glacial Acrylic Acid to co-monomers for acrylic polymer emulsions?

Gareth: “You can use butyl acrylate (BA), 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA), methyl and ethyl acrylate (MA & EA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) along with GAA as co-monomers for acrylic polymer emulsions. As long as you select the appropriate glass transition temperature (Tg), you can achieve some really nice attributes like greater durability, and moisture and chemical resistance.”

For more information on GAA, contact our team today or visit our GAA FAQ page. We can help you develop the right solutions for your business.