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Last updated date: 16th May 2024
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What is Polyacrylate?

Acrylate polymers are made from acrylate monomers and are a type of polymer. Transparency, break resistance, and flexibility are all characteristics of these plastics. Acrylics and polyacrylates are other names for them. As an adhesive, acrylate polymer is extensively used in cosmetics such as nail polish.

Polyacrylates are a type of polymer that is flexible, robust, and rubbery. Their glass transition temperature is significantly lower than that of ambient air. They're noted for their excellent transparency, impact toughness, and elasticity, as well as their moderate heat resistance up to 450 K in dry heat. They are also weatherable and ozone resistant due to the absence of double bonds in the backbone.

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Polyacrylate Polymer

For increased temperature applications (430-450) K), acrylic elastomers are generally a less expensive option to fluorocarbon polymers (FKM), silicones (VMQ), and fluoro silicone (FVMQ). Hoses, seals, gaskets, and dampers that must perform under long-term exposure to high temperatures and hydrocarbon oils are commonly employed in the automotive sector.

Polyacrylate polymers are also employed in solvent-borne coatings and printing inks that require quick drying times. These chemicals function well and can be used in a variety of applications, including automotive lacquers and industrial coatings. They are commonly administered with a spray gun, aerosol spray, or dipping and are designed as one- or two-part systems. The bulk of these goods include dangerous solvents, necessitating strict handling precautions. Furthermore, due to environmental concerns about emissions, most organic solvents are restricted.

Acrylics are utilised in pressure-sensitive adhesive formulations in addition to paints, inks, and coatings. They can be made with a wide range of adhesion qualities, from extremely low tack (barely tacky) to extremely strong tack that bonds to surfaces permanently.

Sodium Polyacrylate 

Sodium polyacrylate, often known as waterlock, is a sodium salt of polyacrylic acid with the chemical formula [CH2CH(CO2Na)]n that finds use in a variety of consumer goods. In water, this super-absorbent polymer (SAP) may absorb 100 to 1000 times its mass. An anionic polyelectrolyte having negatively charged carboxylic groups in the main chain, sodium polyacrylate is an anionic polyelectrolyte. A chemical polymer made up of chains of acrylate molecules is sodium polyacrylate.

It has sodium in it, which allows it to absorb vast amounts of water. An anionic polyelectrolyte, sodium polyacrylate is also known as sodium polyacrylate. Because of the ionic interactions between the molecules, it creates a thick and transparent solution when dissolved in water. Sodium polyacrylate has a number of mechanical advantages. Mechanical stability, great heat resistance, and excellent hydration are just a few of the benefits.

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Sodium Polyacrylate Uses

As an absorbent substance, sodium polyacrylate is utilised in paper diapers and maximum absorbency garments. It's also used in ice packs to turn the water used as a cooling ingredient into a gel, reducing spillage in the event that the ice pack leaks. Sodium polyacrylate uses has also been investigated for a variety of applications, including water nanofiltration to absorb water and concentrate liquids with microorganisms foods, including bread, juice, and ice cream.

It's also utilised in eco-engineering to increase moisture availability in the soil by acting as a water-retaining agent in rocky slopes. This improves the soil's water retention capacity and infiltration capacity in sandy soil. The table below contains categories and lists of various sodium polyacrylate-based products and applications.

1. Sequestering Agents

As a chelating agent, sodium polyacrylate is extensively used in detergents.

First, chelating agents are employed in detergents because they have the potential to neutralise heavy metals found in dirt, water, and other things in clothing. When sodium polyacrylate is added to detergent, it makes it more effective in cleaning garments.

2. Thickening Agents

Diapers, hair gels, and soaps all contain sodium polyacrylate, which can absorb and retain water molecules. Because it enhances the viscosity of water-based compounds, sodium polyacrylate is called a thickening agent. Sodium polyacrylate absorbs urine water in diapers, increasing their capacity to hold liquid and reducing rashes.

3. Coatings

To limit the quantity of moisture around wires, sodium polyacrylate can be used as a coating for electrical cables. Water and moisture near wires can interfere with electrical signal transmission. This could result in a fire hazard. Sodium polyacrylate can absorb water and prevent it from surrounding or entering wires due to its efficient absorption and swelling capability.

4. Agriculture 

Sodium polyacrylate is used in agriculture to assist plants to retain moisture in the soil. It can be used as a water reservoir for plants, and florists frequently utilise it to keep flowers fresh. Furthermore, the United States Department of Agriculture has approved the use of sodium polyacrylate in the production of domestic fruits and vegetables.

5. Drug Delivery Applications

Microencapsulation using sodium polyacrylate can be utilised to distribute compounds like probiotics. Because probiotic viability drops significantly throughout the gastrointestinal tract due to severe acid conditions, delivering probiotics to the digestive system might be problematic. Although Alginate (Alg) is the most often utilised native microcapsule matrix, research comparing different encapsulation methods shows that mixing Alg with sodium polyacrylate produces better outcomes.

6. Removal of Metal Ions from the Environment

Metal ions can be absorbed and recovered using sodium polyacrylate and other super-absorbent polymers, or SAPs. Because of their high toxicity, bioaccumulation, and non-degradability, heavy metals are extremely dangerous pollutants that can harm aquatic habitats and humans. Heavy metals can be produced by activities such as mining and petroleum refining, necessitating a simple and environmentally sustainable procedure to absorb these hazardous metals in order to avoid fatal consequences.

Did You Know?

The skin is not irritated by sodium polyacrylate. It is made up of big polymers that are incapable of penetrating the skin. However, sodium polyacrylate is occasionally combined with acrylic acid, which is a byproduct of the manufacturing process. Acrylic acid, which is a byproduct of the production of sodium polyacrylate, can create a rash when it comes into contact with the skin. The absorbent substance in paper diapers should be less than 300 PPM. In addition, if sodium polyacrylate is utilised as a powder, it should not be breathed. If sodium polyacrylate is spilt in an area with water, it can make the ground highly slippery.

FAQs on Polyacrylate

1. Is Polyacrylate Toxic?

Ans: Sodium polyacrylate is completely safe, as it is non-toxic and poses no significant health hazards. If not handled appropriately, it can be dangerous. However, when handling sodium polyacrylate, be aware of the following dangers and take steps to avoid harm or accident.

2. What is the Purpose of Polyacrylate?

Ans: The absorbent polymer sodium polyacrylate is utilised as an emulsion stabiliser, hair fixative, filmmaker, skin conditioner, and viscosity agent. You'll notice them in infant diapers as the gel-like crystals that make them absorbent.

3. Is Sodium Polyacrylate a Naturally Occurring Substance?

Ans: We can utilise sodium polyacrylate to absorb, hold, or block liquid–it can absorb hundreds of times its own weight in water and convert into a natural gel in seconds. The reaction between acrylic acid (H2C=CHCOOH) and its sodium salt (H2C=CHCOONa) produces sodium polyacrylate.