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Water dispersible polymers can form networks between themselves and water molecules when they are submerged into water. This causes the solution to thicken. This property enables the formulation of different solutions that are employed in various applications in end-user industries. Key applications include adhesives, emulsifiers in skin care products, admixture for concrete and mortar, and thickeners in paints & coatings formulations.

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Some polymers are more readily dispersible in water compared to others. Usually, water dispersible polymers are used while generating a water vortex when dispersed into water. It is essential that all the particles of these polymers are completely dispersed at the time of the contact with water. If the particles are not appropriately dispersed before mixing them with water, they can form aggregates, which can create problems in final formulations of a product. Sometimes, polymers are pre-dispersed into small quantity of glycerin before their dispersion into a mixture of water for ease of formulations in applications such as styling aids and serums in the personal care & cosmetics industry.

Water dispersible polymers build viscosity, provide stability, and enhance the feel of emulsions in final applications. Water dispersible polymers are easier to disperse into melted or hot oil phase during their application in emulsions. The particles are separated when dispersed into oil and are coated with oil. When both the phases of the emulsions (water phase and oil phase) are mixed together, the process of emulsion formation begins as polymers start their migration from the oil phase to the water phase.

Global Water Dispersible Polymers Market: Key Segments

Based on end-user industry, the water dispersible polymers market can be segmented into building & construction, adhesives, personal care & cosmetics, oil & gas, paints & coatings, and others. Use of water dispersible polymers as aqueous thickeners is common in paint formulations, organic solvents, and cements & mortar mixtures. These polymers enhance the workability of these mixtures.

Water dispersible polymers act as multifunctional ingredients in skin care applications such as sunscreen creams and lotions, hair gel & sprays, color makeup, hair conditioners, shampoos, and cold creams. These polymers act as pigment dispersants, emulsifiers, thickeners, and in formation of films. Many polymers utilized in skin care applications possess excellent water resistance along with high compatibility with metal oxides such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These polymers can be dispersed into water with or without the assistance of surfactants or other additives.

Water dispersible polymers used for adhesive applications typically do not require any added treatment. They are thermally stable materials, which can be used as hot melt adhesives. They can either be dispersed in water or utilized as re-dissolvable waterborne adhesives (after their initial dispersion in water). Compatibility with tackifiers and plasticizers used in adhesive compounding is required to produce water-dispersible hot melt adhesives.

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Global Water Dispersible Polymers Market: Key Players

Key players operating in the water dispersible polymers market include Wacker Chemie AG, Eastman, BASF SE, DowDuPont, Akzo Nobel N.V., Arkema Group, Gelita, Kuraray, CP Kelco, Ashland Inc., and Kemira Oyj.

Many companies offer their products under various trademarks and brands. For instance, Eastman provides AQ polymers especially for adhesives and personal care & cosmetics applications. Wacker Chem AG offers products under the trademark VINNAPAS. These products are offered under various groups such as N-class, E-class, H-class, T-class, and L-class. Ashland’s Antaron (Ganex) polymer is used for skin care applications such as sunscreen emulsions and color cosmetics.