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4/2/2015

Rheology Modification - Processing Efficiency - Solutions & Technologies - BASF Dispersions & Pigments

Rheology Modification
The role of rheology modifiers
Rheology describes a force that is being applied to a m aterial. Liquids flow to relieve the
strain of this force: a high-solids dispersion w ill m ove w hen force is applied though not as
freely as a liquid.
All materials have an original form that resists the applied shear force.
This resistance is an internal force that is usually at a tangent to the area
on w hich it acts. Viscosity is the measurement of this resistance and is a
core concept of rheology. Viscosity is also know n as the internal friction
or the force per unit area required to maintain a certain rate of flow .
Tw o extremes of rheological behavior are:
_ELASTIC behavior for example, perfectly rigid solids: the effect of any
applied force reverses spontaneously w hen that applied force is
removed. Energy is stored by the system, then released.
_VISCOUS (or PLASTIC) behavior for example, ideal New tonian liquids:
any deformation ceases w hen the applied force is removed.
Paints are non-New tonian liquids. During application to a substrate they
are subject to very high shear rates that reduce viscosity.
The speed at w hich viscosity recovers follow ing application (and
removal of the shearing force) w ill directly influence the properties of the
film.
Slow viscosity recovery good leveling, good gloss, but sagging can
occur
Fast viscosity recovery reduced flow , no sag, but brush marking,
orange peel and reduced gloss.
For typical paints, the viscosity at high shear rates must be sufficiently low to allow application, but not so
low that the film applied is too thin and has insufficient covering pow er.
Aqueous coatings are dependent on the use of rheology modifiers to achieve the required balance of
application properties for a given market. Generally, a combination of modifiers is used to provide the best
balance betw een container viscosity, application viscosity, anti-settling properties, spatter resistance, flow
and leveling properties.
Alkali-sw ellable em ulsions (ASE-Thickeners)
These dispersions of insoluble acrylic polymers in w ater have a high percentage of acid groups distributed
throughout their polymer chains. When these acid groups are neutralized, the salt that is formed is hydrated.
Depending on the concentration of acid groups, the molecular w eight and degree of crosslinking, the salt
either sw ells in aqueous solutions or becomes completely w ater soluble (Viscalex, Latecoll and
Collacral).
As the concentration of neutralized polymer in an aqueous formulation increases, the sw ollen polymer chains
start to overlap, until they tangle up. It is this overlapping and tangling that causes viscosity to increase.
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4/2/2015

Rheology Modification - Processing Efficiency - Solutions & Technologies - BASF Dispersions & Pigments

Again, the concentration of acid groups, the molecular w eight and degree of crosslinking of the polymer are
important in determining rheology and thickening efficiency.
Viscalex liquid dispersion polym ers (LDPs)
These dispersions of w ater-soluble acrylic polymers in mineral spirit do not require neutralizing to become
w ater soluble. They are dispersed in an organic carrier and are therefore available in high concentrations.
The advantage of these types of material is their suitability for formulations covering a w ide pH range. One
disadvantage is the low amount of retained solvent, w hich w ill compromise film formation in glossy coatings.
For this reason, these products are more often used in w ater-based adhesive formulations and highly filled
(high PVC) systems.
Hydrophobically m odified alkali-sw ellable em ulsions (HASE-Thickeners)
Like ASE-thickeners, these are dispersions of w ater-insoluble acrylic polymers in w ater. Again, the acid
groups on the polymer chains must be neutralized to make the polymer chains w ater soluble. These HASE
products differ from ASE-products in that, in addition to acid groups distributed throughout the polymer chain,
they also contain long-chain hydrophobic groups.
These hydrophobic modifications can associate either w ith each other on an intra- or intermolecular basis
(forming micelles just like surfactants) or in combination w ith other hydrophobic materials, including
surfactants in a coating formulation. This is w hy they are often referred to as associative.
The combination of associations intramolecular, intermolecular and w ith the other hydrophobic elements in a
formulation has a significant effect on rheological properties. HASE modifiers (Rheovis and Latekoll are
less shear-thinning or conversely more New tonian than ASE rheology modifiers.

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