ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF: A Biocide-free & Solvent-free Associative Rheology Modifier for the Waterborne Architectural Coatings Industry

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ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF Rheology Modifier is the first nonionic associative thickener for waterborne architectural coatings that does not contain solvents* or APEOs* in an easy-to-handle liquid aqueous form and contains no registered biocide* per U.S. EPA and EU BPR regulations, while maintaining a standard shelf-life.

ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF is a polyether-polyurethane polymer known as Hydrophobically modified Ethylene oxide URethane (HEUR). HEUR rheology modifiers are used widely in waterborne coatings for their desirable rheological and application properties and are the first choice of formulators developing high performance paints and coatings. HEURs are water soluble polymers with hydrophobic groups, which associate in water to form a network providing thickening and desirable rheology.

Water-based products are susceptible to microbial contamination and spoilage. Standard industrial practices combat such biodeterioration by the addition of biocides. Isothiazolinones, a class of small-molecule biocides, are a popular choice. However, isothiazolinones are sensitizers. In response to the growing concerns to human health, the European Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) announced a significant reduction in the concentration allowed in paint. To address these health concerns and eliminate materials of concern from our products, Dow’s Coating Materials business developed patented biocide-free* HEUR technology enabling solvent-free, aqueous products in easily handled liquid form, free of microbial contamination over its shelf life. ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF Rheology Modifier, is the first product, from a future family of products, based on this technology where the HEUR polymer is inherently self-preserving against microbial spoilage.

ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF was designed from our innovative, patented ACID SUPPRESSION™ HEUR Technology. This technology provides novel, smart materials that are pH responsive and can tune thickening/rheology performance in response to their environment. We have redesigned the HEUR polymer to replace the hydrophobic groups with hydrophobic amine functionality. The hydrophobic amino groups serve two key purposes: 1) associative thickening can be turned on/off by a simple pH trigger, thus eliminating the need for solvents to lower the viscosity of the supplied product for ease of handling, and 2) the acidified aqueous solutions of these new HEUR polymers are inherently self-preserving against microbial contamination and spoilage, thus eliminating the need for traditional biocides.

Since paint pH is > 7.0, paint manufacturers do not need to change their process to use ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF. By simply replacing their standard thickeners with ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF, desirable rheology is achieved since the thickening is automatically activated in the higher pH environment of the paint formulation. In addition to eliminating materials of concern, ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF is a cost-effective, high-performance rheology modifier. Compared to competitive offerings, ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF is highly efficient, requiring a lower dosage to paint to achieve targeted rheology, and it is easy to handle and incorporate into paint formulations. The step-out performance of ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF will become the industry benchmark for a rheology modifier product that does not contain solvent* or biocide*.

ACRYSOL™ RM-735BF Rheology Modifier, introduced to the market at the American Coatings Show earlier this year, is now produced commercially and available globally.

*Not intentionally added and not detected above the limit of detection using typical analytical methods


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  • Name:
    John Rabasco
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    • Sipei Zhang
    • Wenqin (Sunny) Wang
    • Jessica Levin
    • Kathy Seidman
    • Erica Frankel
    • Tara Conley
    • Edwin Baraniak
    • David Heinley
    • Gerry Valdez
    • Kuldip Patel