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Acrylic Acid Acrylate Esters Transcript
Acrylic acid and esters are highly reactive and versatile chemicals that have wide-spread uses. Major markets for the esters include surface coatings, textiles, adhesives and plastics.
Polyacrylic acid or copolymers find applications in super-absorbents, detergents, dispersants and thickeners. Super-absorbent polymers (SAPs) are mainly used in disposable nappies. SAPs and detergent polymers have emerged as the fastest growing end-use accounting for nearly 40% of world glacial acrylic acid consumption.
Pricing for acrylates is generally influenced by movements in propylene, oxo-alcohols, methanol and ethanol, which of course are raw materials, as well as sentiment in the downstream segments.
Supply of acrylates is generally tight in Asia due to the fast growing needs of the downstream segments in key markets such as China, Southeast Asia and India.
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Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2016
Volumes are expected to remain at a good level in the European acrylic acid and acrylates markets at least for July, but as the holiday season will be kicking in demand will naturally drop since the high season of the market will be coming to an end. From a feedstock perspective, players do not see much reason in a further increase of feedstock propylene, while weaker acrylates demand due to seasonality will probably flatten prices for the next couple of months.
Demand for Asian acrylic acid and acrylate esters markets are expected to remain flat in the first part of the third quarter, due to the major Ramadan and Hari Raya holidays in parts of Asia. However, demand is expected to pick up from August onwards, as the region starts to prepare for the year-end festivities. China will see stipulated shutdowns of some acrylic acid and acrylate ester plants between H2-August and early-September in accordance with orders by environmental protection authorities in east China.
In the US acrylic acid and acrylate esters markets, the first price efforts of Q3 were gaining some traction, but were likely to fall broadly short of proposed three-cent/lb ($66/tonne) increases. Market demand is expected to continue to be steady this summer, although somewhat diminished immediately following a Q2 seasonal peak in coatings demand. Producers are expected to continue in margin-recovery mode for the near term.
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Acrylic Acid/Acrylate Esters Methodology
About Acrylic acid-Acrylate esters
Acrylate esters are colourless liquids with acrid odours, and are traded as technical grade (99% purity). Methyl acrylate and ethyl acrylate are toxic enough to require a hazardous shipping label, while butyl acrylate and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2EHA) are considered safe.
Acrylate esters are used in the manufacture of surface coatings/paints and resins, adhesives and plastics, dispersions and in some cases paper.
They are readily polymerised if exposed in water, to form a latex (a dispersion of solid particles in water) such as latex paints.
An associated product is methyl methacrylate. Acrylate esters are made from the reaction of an alcohol to an acid such as acrylic acid. This process is called esterification.