Emulsion polymerization of vinyl acetate with renewable raw materials as protective colloids

University essay from KTH/Skolan för kemivetenskap (CHE)


Emulsion polymerizations of vinyl acetate (VAc) were performed by fully or partially replacing poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) with renewable materials as protective colloids or by adding renewable materials, as additives or fillers, to the emulsions during or after polymerization. The purpose of the study was to increase the amount of renewable materials in the emulsion.

A total of 19 emulsions were synthesized. Different recipes were used for the synthesis. The following renewable materials were studied; hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) with different molecular weights, starch and proteins. HEC and starch were used as protective colloids. Proteins were used as additives or fillers. Cross-linking agent A and Cross-linking agent B were used as cross-linking agents. A total of 26 formulations were pressed, either cold or hot.

The synthesized emulsions were evaluated with respect to pH, solids content, viscosity, minimum film formation temperature (MFFT), glass transition temperature (Tg), particle size and molecular weight (Mw). The tensile shear strengths of the emulsions were evaluated according to EN 204 and WATT 91.

It was possible to fully, or partially, replace PVA as protective colloid with renewable materials. It was also possible to use renewable materials as additives or fillers in the emulsions. The emulsions obtained properties that differed from the reference. Generally, emulsions with HEC as protective colloid showed lower viscosity and slightly higher MFFT, Tg and molecular weight than emulsions with PVA as protective colloid. Larger particle sizes than the reference were obtained for emulsions containing PVA combined with renewable materials. The emulsion with starch as protective colloid exhibited the largest particle size.

10 formulations passed the criteria for D2. The emulsions where PVA was fully or partially replaced with HEC or starch showed a water resistance similar to the reference (around D2). The addition of protein did not decrease the water and heat resistance compared to the reference. Addition of protein after polymerization increased the water resistance (D2) compared to addition during polymerization. Addition of cross-linking agents did not increase the water resistance further.

Two formulations passed the criteria for D3. The emulsion in the first formulation had PVA as protective colloid and protein B was added during polymerization. The emulsion in the second formulation had HEC as protective colloid. To both of these emulsions, protein A was added after polymerization, as a filler, combined with Cross-linking agent B as cross-linking agent before hot pressing. The first formulation also showed a good heat resistance (passed the criteria for WATT 91). 

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