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New Emulsion Technology Designed to Facilitate Manufacture of Eco-Friendly Paints

Celanese Emulsions Polymers has introduced a new vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE) emulsion technology specially designed to facilitate the manufacture of high quality, eco-friendly paints for North America. Called EcoVAE, this new line of products was created to meet both the regulatory requirements for lower VOC limits and growing consumer demand for more environmentally sound, low odor products. The first product in the new line, EcoVAE 401, offers specific advances for interior paints in wet edge, touch-up performance, scrub resistance, as well as the new brand's hallmark low odor and emissions. EcoVAE is synthesized to be free of alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APE) and will assist coatings manufacturers, architects and the construction industry in achieving 'green' certifications.

Building upon success

Celanese first introduced low VOC VAE technology under the Mowilith™ brand in Europe in 1994, and today Celanese is the leading supplier in Europe for VAE emulsions in low VOC paints. “We took our decade-plus of technology experience with emulsions for low-emissions paints and addressed each of the important critical-to-quality (CTQ) requirements of the North American paint manufacturer,” said Craig Mitchell, marketing manager for paints and coatings, Celanese Emulsion Polymers. “Increasingly stringent VOC legislation and a trend toward more environmentally sound products make delivering the high performance that consumers and paint professionals expect difficult. EcoVAE was developed to address the needs of the North American marketplace today and tomorrow,” he said.

EcoVAE emulsions offer a wide range of features that can be configured into benefit packages by paint manufacturers to meet the needs of their many customers: DIYers, contractors, homeowners and specifiers. EcoVAE is versatile and can be formulated into a range of interior paints from premium, low-odor consumer paints to highly functional, professional grades – all of which can meet low to no VOC requirements.

First entry in a line of new products – EcoVAE 401

The first product of the new line, EcoVAE 401, is a high molecular weight vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE) emulsion that has been engineered to offer an excellent balance of performance characteristics and to enable the development of eco-friendly coatings. This VAE emulsion exhibits a large difference between the glass transition temperature (Tg) and minimum film forming temperature (MFFT) that allows the creation of a durable film without the need for coalescing agents – the primary source of VOCs in paints. EcoVAE 401 enables the formulation of paints with less than 50 g/l VOC or even lower. The surfactant technology used in EcoVAE 401 allows high performance that is comparable to APE-stabilized surfactants used in other emulsions. Improved film formation and hydroplasticizaton deliver superior touch-up performance over vinyl acrylic and all-acrylic systems. EcoVAE 401 delivers excellent scrub resistance when compared with vinyl acrylic technology. This new product, paired with Celanese's technical service and applications expertise, will readily facilitate conversion from vinyl acrylic emulsion to VAE emulsion systems by paint manufacturers to improve both the performance quality and environmental profile of their coatings.

Easy formulation and technology transition

For coatings manufacturers looking to transition to low or no VOC products, EcoVAE makes it easy because it is compatible with a broad range of other paint ingredients. Celanese technical service personnel offer starting-point formulations based on EcoVAE401 and can assist paint manufacturers in the transition from either vinyl acrylic or all-acrylic systems to low VOC VAE technology. “The technology of EcoVAE 401 makes it a good choice for a broad range of interior flat and eggshell paints as well as some semi-gloss paints,” Mitchell said. “The good scrub and stain resistance make it ideal for premium interior flat paints while the excellent touch-up characteristics make it ideal for contractor paints. At Celanese, we believe that EcoVAE 401 can stake a claim to being the technology of choice for interior flat paints,” he added.

According to Mitchell, manufacturers currently using vinyl acrylic technology should be particularly interested in EcoVAE technology. “With the scrub resistance, wet edge and touch-up performance advances of this new emulsion, there is no question that EcoVAE offers an upgrade over vinyl acrylic as a foundation for interior paints,” he said. “When you add the ability to deliver a zero VOC coating with the high quality their customers require, we believe that EcoVAE will allow coatings manufacturers in North America to take advantage of substantial marketing opportunities that exist today and that will continue to grow in the future,” he added.

For more information on EcoVAE or to order a sample, visit

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