The binder in many emulsion paints is based on homopolymers or co-polymers of ethenyl ethanoate (vinyl acetate) and a propenoate (acrylic) ester.
Ethenyl ethanoate is manufactured by passing a mixture of ethanoic acid vapour, ethene and oxygen over heated palladium(ll) and copper(ll) chlorides:
Ethenyl ethanoate and an acrylic ester (for example, methyl 2-methylpropenoate) are then co-polymerized to form a random array, in which these groups link into a linear chain:
Other acrylic esters used as co-monomers with ethenyl ethanoate are ethyl propenoate, butyl propenoates, or a co-polymer of butyl propenoate and methyl 2-methylpropenoate.
The polymers used in these paints are carried in water (water-borne emulsion paints) which as described above are much better for the environment than paints in which the binders are in organic solvents.
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