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Polymer Library

Articles, announcements and product news related to water-based specialty polymers. Stay informed by signing up for our newsletter.

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Water Based Emulsions Designed For You

The world of water based emulsion polymers is all around us. Everything from paints, adhesives, and textiles to construction, paper, printing, and packaging are enhanced with these complex coatings.

The original version of this article can be found on ManufacturingInFocus.com by Pauline Müller. The article has been updated

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Waterproofing Membranes: BarrierPro® Styrene-Butadiene Emulsion Polymers

Water can degrade and destroy many types of building materials, and the damage doesn’t stop there. Leaks can lead to mold, severely compromising the health of building occupants over time due to exposure. While many will quickly grasp that water can cause significant damage on its own, other problems, like compromised air

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Tykote® Emulsion Polymers for low MVTR and OGR Barrier Coatings

 Tykote® is a family of styrene-butadiene, styrene-acrylic and all-acrylic polymer products that may be used as bases for compounded functional coatings. Formulators apply Tykote® latex products on substrates used for a variety of packaging applications to provide a barrier or other desired properties.

You’ll see coatings

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Ambient Cure Acrylic Emulsion Polymers Utilizing DAAM/ADH Technology

Solvent-based polymer systems are giving way to water based acrylic polymer emulsions due to environmental concerns and related regulations limiting volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as a desire to achieve significant improvements in the performance characteristics of the water-based emulsion polymers.


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Explaining Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate

Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), sometimes referred to as water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), is a measure of the passage of water vapor through a substance during a period of time.

There are many industries that require a high level of moisture control to ensure the integrity and shelf life of their products,

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What's In a Can? Rheology Modifiers

What Are Rheology Modifiers?

A coating can consist of polymers, surfactants, dispersants, solvents/coalescents, defoamers, biocides and rheology modifiers. Each has a purpose to fulfill within the system to provide the right performance and application properties.

Formulators use rheology modifiers (otherwise known as

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Synthetic Latex Polymers versus Natural Rubber Latex

Mallard Creek Polymers is a global leader in the production of water-based emulsion polymers, another term for a variety of synthetic latex polymers constructed for a wide array of markets and applications.

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What’s in a Can? A Chat with Solvay about Surfactants

What is a Surfactant?

A surfactant is a substance, that when added to water, reduces the surface tension of the solution thus increasing its substrate wetting properties. At low concentrations, a surfactant has the property of migrating and being adsorbed on the interfaces present in the system. It alters the interfacial
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The Difference Between Emulsion Polymers and Solution Polymers

At Mallard Creek Polymers, we have built a globally-respected business on delivering the finest emulsion polymer formulations for our clients in multiple industries for hundreds of applications. People often ask us, “What’s the difference between emulsion polymers and solution polymers?” This article will offer a little

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Four Questions for Tailoring a Polymer Emulsion Recipe, Part Two

Chemists will ask multiple questions whenever they’re asked to create a recipe for a polymer emulsion for a specific application. In this two-part series, we’re discussing the insights related to the four big questions that they ask in these situations.

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Four Questions for Tailoring a Polymer Emulsion Recipe, Part One

Chemists will ask multiple questions whenever they’re asked to create a recipe for a polymer emulsion for a specific application. In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at the four big questions that they ask in these situations.

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The Chemistry of Modern Life: Construction Adhesives in the Home


Everywhere you go, there are adhesives. Out in public, at work, and in the home, adhesives are the bonds of our lives.

You may have a notion of what an adhesive is, but here’s a helpful definition: an adhesive is simply a substance that bonds two substrates together. No matter where you are, you’re only an arm’s reach

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The Chemistry of Modern Life: Water-, Oil- and Grease-Resistance Barrier Coatings for Food Packaging

 The purpose of barrier coatings in food packaging is the ability to block water, water vapor and other liquids from passing through materials that typically are highly porous. Not only can these barrier coatings make items like paper and cloth water-resistance, they have the added benefit of blocking grease and oil. At

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The Chemistry of Modern Life: Emulsion Polymers in Bath and Steam Rooms

Most people know that bathrooms and showers, and occasionally steam rooms and saunas, are focal points in modern home construction. Bathroom design is critical in commercial construction, too, because these rooms are important for setting rental rates or attracting talent. Not so well known is the role chemists have played

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A Brief History of Styrene Butadiene Emulsion Polymers After 1945

Our previous post on emulsion polymer history briefly covered how synthetic polymers were developed to address a limited supply of natural polymers, save elephant herds, and help the United States bring a successful end to World War II. If you missed it, you can read that article here.

It would be hard to overstate the

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A Brief History of Styrene Butadiene Emulsion Polymers Through 1945

Advanced technology comes in many forms – robotics, quantum computing, gene editing and hydraulic fracturing, to name a few. One advanced technology that is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to miss completely is the world of high-tech emulsion polymers. Without a doubt, the world we know and love would not exist if it weren’t

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The Chemistry of Modern Life: Emulsion Polymers in the Auto Industry

With problem-detecting sensors, wireless connections, cloud-based security and real-time navigation, it’s easy to think that the high-tech features in today’s hot rides are all electronic. That, however, would be overlooking some of the most remarkable technologies that are making cars safer, quieter, less expensive and

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Crystalline vs. Amorphous Polymers

Polymers and polymer coatings are everywhere. They give magazine pages their gloss and ensure the durability of paint used on our homes. They turn up in adhesives, carpets, athletic tracks, roofing shingles and even roads. Each application needs the polymer to behave in a particular way, and behavior is determined by

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Photographer Tim Coffey Visits Mallard Creek Polymers

When photographer Tim Coffey moved to North Carolina a few years ago, he was looking for a unique way to explore his new home state. This desire gave birth to his Carolina Works project. For the project, Coffey visits manufacturing plants around North Carolina to take pictures and interview employees about their jobs. He

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Benefits of Emulsion Polymers for Elastomeric Roofs

Companies that design roof coatings are in a constant battle with the elements when formulating a coating that can stand up to constant exposure to sunlight, extreme temperature swings, and water damage.

By taking knowledge from other industries, roofing companies have historically tried to use both waterborne house paints
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The Difference between Styrene-Butadiene Rubber and Styrene-Butadiene Latex

Often the terms Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SB Rubber) and Styrene-Butadiene Latex (SB Latex) are used interchangeably. However, they are two different materials that are used in different ways on a variety of products.

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Think Small: Innovative Ideas

Innovation is essential in business. In fact it's the only way of ensuring lasting success. As Henry Ford is alleged to have said, “If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.” We've taken this to heart at Mallard Creek Polymers and it's something that fuels our drive to solve

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Think Small: Quality Over Quantity

Mallard Creek Polymers is a smaller business – not exactly small, but not the same scale of some of our competitors either – and that shapes how we operate. For example, one of our key tenets is “Quality over Quantity.” There are several ways of defining “Quality,” so let's explain what this means to us and how it relates

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What's in Your Can? A Chat With Evonik About Dispersants

Mallard Creek Polymers: What is the dispersant’s purpose in the system?

Evonik: Wetting and dispersing additives prevent floating, flooding, and sedimentation of pigments in paints, inks, lacquers, and pigment concentrates. They operate in three partly consecutive / partly concurrent steps: wetting, dispersion, and

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Think Small: Personal Experts

When you work with Mallard Creek Polymers, or MCP, you work with a small group of experts. These people listen while you explain what you're looking for, they'll develop a customized solution that works, and they'll be there when you come back with your next request. Working with MCP means having a team dedicated to

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What's in Your Can? A Chat With Evonik About Defoamers & Deaerators

Mallard Creek Polymers: What is a defoamer / deaerator’s purpose in the system?

Evonik: Defoamers prevent formation of foam during manufacture and application of coatings and printing inks. Foam that is already formed is destroyed and air occlusions are prevented. Deaerators prevent development of air occlusions and

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Think Small: Affordable Customization

Product differentiation is one route to higher profits, but it's hard to be different from competitors if you all use the same raw materials. The answer is to use customized latex emulsions, but finding suppliers can be difficult. Many, especially those with large scale manufacturing processes, want to see the potential

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What's in A Can?

 Water-based coatings are on the rise.  Whether it’s for a waterproofing coatings, a flexible elastomeric film, or a concrete sealer, going water based allows for a more environmentally friending product offering with easy clean up.  Choosing the right raw materials for a formulation can be challenging when you are trying

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Understanding the Glass Transition Temperature

Read the specifications for any Mallard Creek Polymer product and you'll see a number for its glass transition temperature. Written as “Tg,” this helps users anticipate how the latex polymer will behave at it's service temperature. In this blog post we'll explain some of the science behind Tg and the implications for

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Winter & Cold Weather Shipments

Winter will be here soon and MCP has you in mind. Water based emulsions will freeze at or below 32 °F, therefore MCP takes great care to ensure that shipments are not compromised due to winter weather conditions. Below are some of the ways we protect your product from our location to yours.

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What is tack, peel, & shear?

Lift the corner on a removable film and it should pull away cleanly and easily. Try the same on a shipping label and it should adhere stubbornly to the package. Both are adhesive applications yet the needs are very different. The way an adhesive performs is strongly influenced by the latex polymer emulsion included in the

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Who is Mallard Creek Polymers?

 Mallard Creek Polymers manufactures styrene-butadiene, styrene-acrylic, and acrylic emulsions at our 150 acre facility near Charlotte, North Carolina. Since 1962, we’ve expanded the product line and invested in an R&D and headquarters building in nearby University Research Park. Today, the company is recognized as a

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Styrene-Butadiene Latex

Styrene-Butadiene Latex is the most common type of styrene-butadiene emulsion polymer. It’s different from both its natural counterpart, the latex sap from hevea brasiliensis trees (AKA rubber trees) and from another manufactured compound, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR).  Natural latex is commonly used in applications like

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Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR)

Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), sometimes referred to as water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), is a measure of the passage of water vapor through an article during a period of time. There are many applications of synthetic emulsion polymers in which moisture control is critical. 

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Acrylic Polymers

Acrylic polymer emulsions are water based polymers that can be produced from methyl methacrylate, butyl acrylate, 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, acrylic acid, methyl acrylate, etc. By selecting the appropriate hard and soft monomers, polymers with specific attributes for a variety of end-use applications can be built.

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Glass-transition Temperature (Tg)

The “hard” or “soft” classification is related to the glass transition temperature of the monomer. The glass transition temperature, Tg, is the temperature region where the polymer transitions from a hard, glassy material to a soft, rubbery material. For example, the Tg of styrene and butadiene is 100 °C and -80 °C,

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Specialty Polymers

A polymer is a large molecule consisting of many parts. These parts are made up of a linked series of smaller molecules, called monomers. Co-polymers are derived from two different monomers. For example, synthetic rubber is created by combining monomers such as butadiene and styrene.

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Nitrile Elastomers

Nitrile elastomers are emulsion polymers produced using rubber polymerization techniques. The primary building blocks are butadiene and acrylonitrile, while styrene is often included to provide toughness. These products are crosslinkable, but routinely used because of the highly elastomeric nature of the copolymer.

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Styrene-Acrylic Emulsion Polymers

Styrene-acrylic emulsion polymers are water based polymers that can be produced from styrene and various acrylate esters such as methyl methacrylate, butyl acrylate, 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, acrylic acid, etc. By selecting the appropriate hard (ie styrene) and soft monomers, polymers with specific attributes for a variety of

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Vinyl Acetate Based Polymers

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is a critical building block for a number of water-based polymers. Vinyl acetate monomer is low cost, easy to use, globally traded, and readily available.

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What is Gel Content?

Gel content determines how a styrene butadiene polymer emulsion performs in service. It's a measure of cross-linking between polymers and has a significant bearing on the cost of coatings made from the emulsion. As such, it's a critical property across many applications, although many latex users probably don't give it the

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Carboxylated vs. non-carboxylated?

When asking the question of carboxylated vs. non-carboxylated, the answer comes down to adhesion. Some applications demand a coating that bonds well to the substrate and others need a much lower level. Paints are a good example of the former, expected to remain bonded for years, while peel-able protective films and those

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Choosing the Right Emulsion Polymer

How do you choose the right polymer emulsion for your project? You may not know it, but you aren't limited to the polymer solutions available from the big company manufacturers. Smaller companies can make specialized polymer solutions and blends on a custom basis and in the batch size you need. A company like MCP

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Resin Supported: The Superior Emulsion For Your Formulations

At Mallard Creek Polymers, we routinely work with our customers to recommend emulsions that will give their formulations a competitive edge, develop greater quality, or achieve cost efficiency. For those formulators looking for a competitive edge, desirable qualities, and an emulsion that’s easy to work with in a variety

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What applications are MCP's emulsion polymers used in?

Did you know you are surrounded by synthetic emulsion polymers?  Synthetic styrene-butadiene, styrene-acrylic, and acrylic emulsions are components of products you use every day. A synthetic emulsion is a milky, white liquid that consists of a polymer emulsified in water.  In a broad view, synthetic emulsions are used in

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Synthetic Emulsion Polymers

A polymer is built through polymerization where many chemical units (monomers) are linked together by covalent bonds. Homopolymers are prepared using the same monomer unit and copolymers are prepared using two or more different monomer units, for example styrene and butadiene. To create a synthetic emulsion polymer, this

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5 Steps to Choosing the Best Polymer Development Partner

Finding the right development partner for your specialty polymers is essential for creating unique, innovative products. A five step process helps you locate that boutique manufacturer with the capabilities you need.

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3 Ways Your Acrylic Polymer Emulsion Supplier Can Make or Break Your Product

There are many places to source an acrylic polymer emulsion. Some will offer you low prices, but only the specialty polymer producers can provide smaller volumes, product customization, and direct access to technical specialists. 

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7 Qualities To Look For In Potential Specialty Polymer Development Partners

Formulating improved coatings is easier with the right specialty polymer development partner. These seven qualities will help you recognize companies that are worth working with.

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Why Large Enterprises Aren't Always the Right Choice for Your Company

Choosing your suppliers is a balance of costs, reliable delivery of a quality product and the ability to collaborate for your changing needs. When you need specialty polymers, there are many reasons that working with a private manufacturer will give you better results. Consider the benefits that larger enterprises cannot

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Have questions about Mallard Creek Polymer's products & services? Contact one of our experts now!

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