Why Acrylates Are Essential To Our Lives
Acrylic acid (AA) has been used for more than 50 years as an essential building block in the production of some of our most commonly used industrial and consumer products. Approximately two-thirds of the AA manufactured in the United States is used to produce acrylic esters (methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate) which when polymerized are ingredients in paints, coatings, textiles, adhesives, plastics, and many other products. The remaining one-third of the AA is used to produce polyacrylic acid or crosslinked polyacrylic acid compounds which are used in the manufacture of hygienic products, detergents, and water purification and waste water treatment.
Acrylic monomers are highly reactive chemicals and therefore, are used nearly exclusively as intermediates in the production of other materials. For example, individual molecules of acrylic acid or esters called monomers readily combine with themselves or other monomers to form long chains of repeating units or polymers. The polymers have different physical and chemical properties than the constituent monomers. These polymers can be used in the production of goods that for decades have provided added benefits and convenience to consumers and manufacturers worldwide.