What Are Latex Compounds?

Posted by Phil Morrison on 11-Jun-2021 11:17:17

Tree trunks showing the wide rang of properties of latex compounds

Latex is a term commonly used to describe a dispersion or emulsion of a polymer in water. A latex compound is a mixture of a latex polymer or blend of polymers with other chemical ingredients. The latex polymer acts as a binder for these ingredients.

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Latex polymers have a wide range of properties. For example, natural rubber latex is strong, highly elastic and extremely flexible and can be used to make mould rubber products e.g. balloons but other chemicals need to be added to achieve this – hence latex compound. Acrylic latex can be compounded with conductive carbon black dispersion to make a static dissipative composition for polyurethane foam impregnation. Vinyl chloride/ethylene latex can be compounded with particulate flame retardants to make textile back coatings. Latex compounds can be designed with a range of water contents, viscosity or rheologies and foaming rates so they can be tailored to end users’ application methods.

Examples Of Latex Compounds Include:

  • Cold seal adhesives for packaging.
  • Sprayable adhesives for furniture manufacture.
  • Flame retardant back coatings for upholstery fabrics.
  • Flame retardant impregnants for polyurethane foam.
  • Nonslip coatings for papers.
  • Peelable coatings for electronics and building applications.
  • Heat sealable adhesives.
  • Air drying, peelable coatings for electronic component protection.
  • Air drying, peelable coatings for construction applications.
  • Wet bond adhesive for packaging application.
  • Foamable ‘ribbed’ backings for textiles.
  • Heat sealable, moisture vapour/oxygen barrier coatings for packaging films.
  • Prevulcanised latex ‘dipping’ compounds for rubber mould manufacture.
  • Static charge conductors for polyurethane foam impregnation.
  • Backings for rug and carpet manufacture.
  • Backings for tile manufacture.
  • Flame retardant, sprayable, air drying coatings for Rockwool.
  • Emulsion paints.
  • Air drying backings for gym mats.
  • Impregnants for tent and marquee fabrics.
  • Oil resistant coatings compounds for foam impregnation.

Latex Compounds Can Be Based On A Range Of Polymers:

  • Styrene/Butadiene Latex (SBR)
  • Nitrile Latex (NBR)
  • Natural Rubber Latex (NRL)
  • Polyvinyl Acetate Latex (PVA)
  • Polyvinylidene Chloride Latex (PVDC)
  • Vinyl Chloride/Ethylene Latex (VC/E)
  • Vinyl Acetate/Ethylene Latex (VA/E)
  • Polychloroprene Latex (Neoprene)
  • Styrene/Acrylate Latex (SAN)
  • Acrylic Latex
  • Styrene/Butadiene/Vinylpyridine Latex
  • Polyvinyl Butyral Latex
  • Polyurethane Latex

These polymers are ‘compounded’ with other chemicals in order to impart a range of properties.

Examples Of These Additives The Properties They Impart Include:

  • Flame Retardants.
  • Antioxidants which extend the life of latex-based products.
  • Calcium Carbonate which is primarily used as an extender.
  • Crosslinking Agents which improve physical strength and longevity.
  • Accelerators which increase the rate of crosslinking.
  • Waxes to improve water repellence.
  • Fungicides to protect dried films against mould.
  • Pigments.

Latex compounds are applied using various methods including foaming, spraying, impregnation and knife/roller coating.

In Order To Achieve These, Other Components Are Included:

  • Thickeners and rheology modifiers.
  • Foaming agents (soaps/surfactants).
  • Wetting agents to aid dispersion of particulate additives and coating of substrates.
  • Colloidal stabilisers.
  • Antifoams to prevent foaming during manufacture and application.
  • Biocides to protect the latex compound from bacterial attack.

At Formulated Polymers we make a range of latex compounds for use in a wide variety of industries. We are able to offer ‘off the shelf’ latex compounds or we can tailor products in order to meet end users’ specific needs.

Contact us on 01706 820 82 08 or email us at enquiries@polymers.co.uk.

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Topics: Liquid Latex, Rubber Latex

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