Polymers in Speciality Chemicals

Why polymers are popular in the manufacturing of specialty chemicals?

Polymers in industries play an important role because of their unique properties. Polymers are strong that molecules can be moulded into permanent shapes, such as plastic, or drawn into fibres, as in the textile industry, making polymers famous in accordance to their desired end uses.

Polymers are macromolecules composed of many repeating subunits called monomers. Depending on the class of monomers, they are classified as natural or synthetic polymers.

Polymers in action

  1. Waste Water Treatment : Industrial process water or wastewater includes sediment and particles with high toxicity with wastes like plastic, leather, ink, fabric, palm oil, soap, pulp, and paper. These are extensively used in the water treatment process for coagulation of suspended solids in order to produce large curds of materials that are easy to separate. Polymers are used to coagulate these suspended solids and produce large chunks of solid materials which are then removed.

Categorized mostly as:

  • Anionic Polymer – Used for flocculation in solid-liquid separations in effluent treatment plants for primary clarification, sedimentation, and thickening. Additionally, polymers can be used alone or together with inorganic coagulants to flocs bigger and more resistant to shear forces.
  • Cationic Polymer Used for dewatering sludge from biological treatment processes. Polymers in emulsion form typically have faster makeup times, as well as additional flexibility in molecular architecture optimization.
  • Non-ionic Polymer – Composed of macromolecules that do not contain ionic bonds, ions, or functional groups that would otherwise ionize in an aqueous solution under conditions applicable to the production of pharma products.
  1. Drilling Polymers : Drilling polymers are high molecular weight polymers that control fluid loss and mud viscosity. Drilling polymer emulsions contain copolymer and primarily used as a borehole stabilizer to prevent reactive shale and clay from swelling and sloughing. Added to low-solid drilling fluids to increase lubricity, viscosity, and carrying capacity of air/foam injection fluids. PHPA based formulation ensures enhanced slurry rheology and lessening mud rings, bit balling, and clay formation booting off, with a significant reduction in drill pipe torque.
  2. Polymeric Dispersants : Used as dispersant and scale inhibitor in industrial water treatments such as cooling towers, RO plants, boilers. It inhibits the deposition of metals, precipitates, insoluble salts responsible for the scale deposition, pitting corrosion and more. Polymer treatment is cost effective, degradable, good pH activity, more.
  3. Hydrogel for agriculture : potassium polyacrylate based hydrogel polymer absorbing about 500 – 600 times water of its own weight, is organic, non-toxic and biodegradable, mandated to be beneficial for farmers in improving crop yield, especially in dry & drought conditions.
  4. PAMA (Poly Alkyl Methacrylate) are modified polyolefins extensively used to formulate viscosity modifiers, lubricant oils, de-waxing additives, flow assurance additives, and other fuel additives. The flexible chemistry, the ready availability, and the polymer modification attribute through changing of monomer compositions make PAMA widely accepted for a wide variety of applications.