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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Acrylic acid (IUPAC: prop-2-enoic acid) is an organic compound with the formula CH2=CHCO2H. It is the simplest unsaturated carboxylic acid, consisting of a vinyl group connected directly to a carboxylic acid terminus. Acrylic acid is used in the manufacture of plastics, paint formulations, and other products.  Exposure occurs primarily in the workplace.  It is a strong irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes in humans.  No information is available on the reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of acrylic acid in humans.  Animal cancer studies have reported both positive and negative results. Acrylic acid and its derivatives are mainly derived from propylene. Its derivatives include methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, 2-ethylhexly acrylate, SAP’s, polyacrylic acid and other monomers. The key feedstock material for acrylic acid is propylene and oxides of arsenic, niobium and molybdenum. 


Acrylic acid’s chemical nature makes it a highly desirable component in a polymer system. Besides polymer applications, the molecule also follows the characteristics of both a carboxylic acid and acrylate ester, making it suitable for chemical intermediates as well. The largest application for acrylic acid is in the industrial coatings area. And, because it is miscible with water, alcohols, and ethers, the wetting ability can be enhanced based on the specific employment.

An area of growth for acrylic acid is with acrylic acid homopolymers and acrylic acid/starch grafts. These combinations provide a high rate of absorption, perfect for use in hygiene products. Other minor uses include viscosity modifiers for rubber lattices and adhesives, detergents, fiber sizing, and soil conditioners.


Novozymes  and  Cargill  have  collaborated  on  renewable  acrylic  acid  technology since  2008.  BASF,  the  world‟s  biggest  producer  of  acrylic  acid  via  the conventional route of propylene oxidation, joined the collaboration in 2012. BASF  had  decided  to  end  the  collaboration  with  Cargill  and  Novozymes  on  a technology  to  derive  biobased  acrylic  acid  via  3-hydroxypropionic  acid  [(3HP)] from dextrose. Cargill and Novozymes say they have begun looking for a new commercialization partner.  This  is  pioneering  biochemical  research,  and  the  technology development and achievements so far have been extraordinary.

The  collaboration  between  Novozymes  and  Cargill,  which  the  two  companies confirm  will  continue,  is  focused  on  developing  micro  organisms  that  can efficiently  convert  renewable  feedstock  into  3HP,  one  possible  precursor  to acrylic acid. BASF‟s role had been to develop the process for converting 3HP into acrylic acid. Several approaches have been demonstrated with other products, like lactic acid in  pH  management  and  the  development  of  lower  pH  tolerant  systems. The 3-HPA side of the process appears to be workable.  The challenge is the cost effective  conversion  of  3-HPA  into  crude  or  glacial  acrylic  acid.  Acrylic  acid  is very reactive even in a conventional process.


Today, the global market for C3 chemicals, primarily acrylic acid, is estimated at $8 billion annually. Conventional C3 chemicals, including crude acrylic acid, glacial acrylic acid and acrylates, are used in products such as superabsorbent polymers (SAP), water treatment chemicals, coatings (decorative, automotive, paper) and adhesives.

The global market for acrylic acid is expected to reach USD 22.78 billion by 2020.  Increasing adoption of super absorbent polymers in emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil is expected to be a key driver for the market over the forecast period. In addition, the growing demand for high strength materials with superior thermal resistance from the surface coating market is expected to boost demand for acrylic acid over the next six years. 

Source: NPCS Team

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