Sustainability in emulsion polymers for coating

Organizers: Sylvain Caillol, Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier; Vincent Ladmiral; Dean Webster

Sustainability is one of the most discussed issues in the industry. In the past, paint and coatings industry focused research and development efforts to develop low VOC technologies for paints, binders and sealants. However, meeting environmental regulations is not enough. Nowadays, companies are looking at “green” coatings and sustainability from a holistic standpoint.

The use of water as a continuous phase has already several advantages, as it is an innocuous and nonflammable solvent. Moreover, it reduces the reaction medium viscosity and improves heat transfer enabling easier reaction temperature control. Aqueous polymerization in dispersed media includes several related processes such as emulsion polymerization, miniemulsion polymerization, microemulsion polymerization, dispersion polymerization and suspension polymerization.

The desire and need for more sustainable and more energy efficient materials have encouraged the use of more bio-based and safer chemicals. Hence, numerous bio-based emulsion polymers have been developed from vegetable oils or sugar derivatives to yield bio-based latex. Moreover, most emulsion polymers are prepared from relatively harmful monomers such as acrylates, styrene or isocyanates. Hence, crucial challenges such as the substitution of styrene and other harmful petro-based acrylates remain. Additionally, some toxic surfactants or additives could leach out of the final coatings. Hence the substitution or replacement of these surfactants is still important. Finally, functional coatings which avoids the superposition of several coatings for same properties is also an economic and environmental advantage. Developing greener coatings is certainly important, but companies are also concerned with the reduction of waste and the carbon footprint.

We propose to gather the highest-level contributions from the academic and industrial communities on these remaining challenges.

The objective is to address issues and gaps concerning:

  • Innovative and promising bio-based monomers for industrial polymers;
  • Reactivity and molar mass issues in emulsion polymerization;
  • Reactive latex and cross-linkable coatings;
  • Functional and self-healing coatings;
  • Biobased surfactants and pickering emulsions;
  • Emulsion NIPUs;
  • Life cycle assessment of latex;
  • Up-scaling issues;
  • Characterizations and applications for biobased latex.

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