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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.

Recent Posts

Introduction to Cementitious Waterproofing Membranes

Concrete is the single most widely used material in the world. It’s strong, durable and versatile, capable of being formed into almost any shape. This makes it an ideal material for the construction of foundations, roadways, bridges, tunnels, dams, skyscrapers and more.

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The Next Generation of Polymer-Modified Concrete

As explained in the “Introduction to Polymer-Modified Concrete,” when polymers are added to concrete, the resulting material is known as polymer-modified concrete (PMC), polymer cement concrete (PCC) or, when it’s used specifically on bridge decking, as latex-modified concrete (LMC). The many advantages of using PMC, PCC

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Introduction to Polymer-Modified Concrete

Concrete is an ancient material. It was used in the Middle East as early as 6,500 B.C. to construct floors, housing structures and underground cisterns. In the Roman era, circa 600 B.C., concrete was used even more extensively. Roman engineers poured their mix into wooden forms and stacked the hardened blocks like brick.

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What is the Difference Between Carboxylated and Non-Carboxylated?

Choosing a polymer for your project: carboxylated or non-carboxylated?

Carboxylated latexes are the most widely used of all commercial latexes. When selecting the best emulsion polymer for your project, however, why would you choose a carboxylated polymer over a non-carboxylated polymer? It comes down to one property:

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Acrylic Polymers

What Are Acrylic Polymers and How Are They Used?

Acrylic polymer emulsions are one of the great success stories of modern industrial chemistry. The science behind this versatile class of polymers was perfected just after World War II, driven by an unprecedented housing boom and the demand for more versatile, more

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Styrene-acrylic Polymers

Styrene-acrylic emulsion polymers are based on a group of chemicals that are true workhorses in the field of polymer chemistry. Known as acrylates, this group includes acrylic acid and its esters — methyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate. All of these acrylic monomers are highly reactive

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What is tack, peel, & shear?

If you lift the corner of a removable film, such as a protective coating applied to a mobile phone screen, 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

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Diversifying Your Supplier Network in Uncertain Times

Over the last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has extended from days to weeks to months, many organizations have been thinking about business resilience. One vulnerability exposed by the pandemic has been the fragility of complex supply chains, which was manifested by petrochemical supply-side issues and diversion of

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What are Synthetic Emulsion Polymers? 

Synthetic Emulsion Polymers: Chemistry and Applications

A synthetic emulsion polymer is a milky liquid that is used to manufacture many products we encounter every day. From barrier coatings on food wrappers to the pressure-sensitive adhesive of a sticky note to the liquid applied waterproofing membrane under shower tiles,

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Explaining the Glass Transition Temperature

 

Hard and brittle? Soft and pliable? Or somewhere in between? The properties of polymers can vary greatly, and those properties can be tuned to meet a specific customer need. Whether you are considering a polymer for outdoor house paint or for the undercoating of an automobile, its behavior at the different temperatures

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Emulsion Polymers for Automotive and Transportation Coatings

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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An Introduction to Vinyl Acetate-Based Polymers

Vinyl acetate monomers (VAM) are essential building blocks for a large number of water-based polymers. Vinyl acetate is prepared from ethylene by reacting it with oxygen and acetic acid over a palladium catalyst. The basic chemical reaction is shown below, along with the chemical structure of vinyl acetate monomer.

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Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate: What You Need to Know

What Is MVTR? 

Moisture vapor transmission rate, also called water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), is the amount of water vapor that passes through a substance or material over a specific period of time. 

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What Are Nitrile Elastomers

Nitrile elastomers are emulsion polymers produced using rubber polymerization techniques. Also known as nitrile emulsions or nitrile latexes, these are dispersions of acrylonitrile and butadiene — or sometimes styrene — in water. Nitrile elastomers are true colloids, defined as a homogenous amorphous substance consisting

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Amorphous vs. Crystalline Polymers

Polymers are unlike other types of materials because of their high molecular weight. Molecular weight is the value used to express the size of a molecule. Water, for example, has a molecular weight of 18 atomic mass units. Polymers are much larger, with molecular weights ranging from tens of thousands up to several million

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An Introduction to Amorphous Polymers

Glass certainly seems like a solid substance — it’s hard and brittle at room temperature — but glass exhibits other properties that make it unique, which is why chemists classify it as an amorphous solid. Amorphous solids are those that have short-range order but no long-range order. In this case, order refers to how the

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Styrene-Butadiene Latex

What is Styrene-Butadiene Latex?

Styrene-butadiene (SB) latex is a common type of emulsion polymer used in a number of industrial and commercial applications. Because it’s composed of two different types of monomers, styrene and butadiene, SB latex is classified as a copolymer. Styrene is derived from reacting benzene and

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Latex Binders 101: Polymer Stabilization

Chemists sometimes describe latex as a colloidal dispersion that remains stable — i.e., the particles that make up the dispersion don’t settle or cream over time. This is accomplished by a combination of ionic and steric stabilization. Keep reading to understand how these two unique mechanisms work.

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Latex Binders 101: Polymer Design

Chemists who make latexes generally start by understanding how the product will be used. That’s because the end-use application of an emulsion polymer has significant implications for how it’s designed. Knowing the end use helps the chemist develop the right recipe, with all of the right ingredients, that results in an

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Latex Binders 101: Polymer Architecture

It’s convenient to think of polymers as long chains, and, sometimes, that’s accurate. But polymers have a number of complex interactions — between monomers and between polymer chains — that result in recognizable architectures. These architectures can have tremendous impact on the properties of a polymer emulsion being

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Latex Binders 101: Glass Transition Temperature

Most people are familiar with the concept of melting point — the temperature at which a solid changes into a liquid state. But not all materials have a defined melting point. An amorphous polymer has a glass transition temperature, which is not a single temperature at all but a range of temperatures across which the

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Latex Binders 101: An Overview

A latex is a dispersion of polymeric particles or droplets in liquid, which sounds simple enough. But the chemistry, mechanics and processes used to create synthetic latex (also referred to as an emulsion polymer) are a bit more complicated. Read on for a comprehensive overview of the science of latex .

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Quick & Nimble: MCP Offers Affordable Customization

The Competitive Edge

In a crowded marketplace, it’s tough to introduce a new polymer-based innovation when your competitors are drawing from the same well of raw materials. The best way to set yourself apart from these competitors is to offer something unique — to build a custom synthetic polymer with an experienced team.

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Film Formation of Latex Binders: What You Need To Know

Understanding how a latex binder forms a film is critical to understanding how many modern products are made. That’s because so many products we use every day — coatings, adhesives, and composites — are made when wet latex is transformed into a final film material. Film formation is highly modifiable so that the final

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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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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.

Emulsion

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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