Methyl acrylate, the methyl ester of acrylic acid, is a clear and colourless volatile liquid with a distinctive acrid odour. It is slightly soluble in water, and freely soluble in alcohol, ethers and organic solvents.
It is suitable as a building block for the production of homopolymers and copolymers and is also used as a raw material for a variety of syntheses. It is usually polymerized by free radical initiation though it can also be polymerized under the influence of heat and light as well as ionic and high-energy mechanisms.
Synonyms: Methyl 2-Propenoate, Acrylic Acid, Methyl Ester
Applications of Methyl Acrylate
Methyl acrylate is used in the manufacture of homopolymers and copolymers. It can be copolymerized with acrylic acid and its salts, amides, esters, acrylamide, methacrylic acid, methacrylates, acrylonitrile,maleates, vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, styrene, butadiene, unsaturated polyesters and drying oils. One of the main uses of methyl acrylate is for the production of acrylate fibre, a synthetic material that can take on a range of properties from wool-like to silk-like textures. Vinyl acetate is a commonly made fibre, which often used in the productions of carpets.
Methyl acrylate is used in a number of end products such as hair styling and finishing products, packaging material and labels, paper coatings, textile and leather finishing and in paintwork for motor vehicles. In latex paint formulations it offers low temperature flexibility, good weathering and good water and sunlight resistance.
Storage and Handling
Methyl acrylate is highly flammable and reactive and must be kept in a tightly closed container away from heat, sparks, flame, light and frost.Contact with the product can cause skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation.The primary hazard from methyl acrylate is from its vapour, which must be restricted to the established allowable concentrations. High exposure can cause headaches, nausea and pulmonary oedema. Safety precautions including ventilation and the wearing of personal protective equipment and eye goggles, and regulations for storage of flammable liquids must be strictly observed.
Methyl acrylate must be should be stored under air rather than inert gases to prevent spontaneous polymerization. Storage temperature must not exceed 35°C. Provided these storage conditions are properly maintained, the product can be expected to remain stable for a period of one year.
The product must be stored, handled, distributed and disposed of in strict accordance with national laws and directives, as well as any applicable local regulations. Ensure the container is tightly closed. More detailed information is available in the brochure ‘SAFE HANDLING AND STORAGE OF ACRYLIC ESTERS’, from the European Basic Acrylic Monomers Manufacturers Association (EBAM).