Vinyl Acetate Monomer

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is a clear, colourless flammable liquid with a characteristic pungent odour. It is soluble in most organic solvents, including chlorinated ones, but not in water. Vinyl acetate monomer is an essential raw material in the production of polymers including polyvinyl acetate and polyvinyl alcohol, which are important in a wide range of industrial and consumer products.

Vinyl acetate monomer polymerizes readily with acrylate esters to produce polymers.

Synonyms: VAM; Vinyl Acetate; Acetic Acid, Vinyl Ester; Acetic Acid, Ethenyl Acetate; Ethenyl Ester; 1-Acetoxyethylene

Applications of Vinyl Acetate Monomer

Vinyl acetate monomer is primarily used as the starting material in the production of two chemicals: polyvinyl acetate, which in turn is used to produce a wide range of end products such as interior and exterior paints, adhesives, coatings for flexible substrates and sizing for polyester fibre-fill insulation textiles; and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) which provides excellent film-forming properties as well as resistance to oil, grease and solvents and is used to produce adhesives, coatings and water soluble packaging films.

It copolymerizes with ethylene to produce ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) which is commonly used in packaging film, heavy-duty bags, extrusion coatings and wire and cable jacketing.

It is also used in polyvinyl acetals, which are used in the manufacture of insulation for magnetic wire, interlayers for safety glass, wash primers and coatings; ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers which are used to produce flexible films, coatings, adhesives, mouldings and insulation; and ethylene vinyl alcohol which is used to produce gas barrier layers in coextruded packaging.

Storage and Handling

Exposure to vinyl acetate monomer may cause irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Appropriate precautions including engineering controls and the wearing of personal protective equipment must be observed.

Vinyl acetate monomer is a flammable liquid which must be stored away from ignition sources, excessive heat and direct sunlight. Storage temperature should not exceed 30°C. Avoid contact with peroxides, hydroperoxides, hydrogen peroxide, azo compounds and other polymerization initiators, amines, strong acids, alkalis and oxidizing agents.

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