By means of the esterification reaction between acrylic acid and different alcohol feedstocks, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction’s plants produce a range of acrylates, which are primarily used in adhesives, paints and coatings. The process is designed to deliver low raw material consumption, optimal energy integration, low utility requirements, and high onstream times.
Variations on a process
This technology is used to produce methylacrylate (MA), ethylacrylate (EA), butylacrylate (BA) and 2-ethylhexylacrylate (2-EHA). The process varies depending on the desired product, but the starting point is always a reaction between the acrylic acid and an alcohol feedstock using a strong acid catalyst (ion-exchange resin or para-toluene sulfonic acid).
In the case of methylacrylate and ethylacrylate, reactor effluents are sent to the fractionation section to recover unreacted acrylic acid. The crude methylacrylate or ethylacrylate is then purified in an alcohol extractor and light ends column, where process water and the alcohol feedstock are removed. In the final product column, high boiling components are separated and sent to the acrylic acid (AA) regeneration section, while the purified final product is sent to storage.
In the case of butylacrylate and 2-ethylhexylacrylate, the conversion takes place in a three- or four-stage reactor system. After the initial reaction, crude BA or 2EHA is routed, along with the catalyst, to the extraction section. Here, the catalyst is extracted using process water and is then recycled to the reactors. In the next phase, the purification section removes light ends for recycling and separates high boiling components. The final pure BA or 2EHA product is generated and sent to storage.
As acrylate products are prone to polymerization, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction installs an inhibitor injection system at critical locations in the plant.
Produces range of acrylates used in adhesives, paints and coatings
Low raw material consumption
Optimized energy integration
Reduced utility requirements
Low impact on the environment
Capacity: up to four tons per hour (MA and EA), five tons per hour (2-EHA) or 20 tons per hour (BA) in a single train unit. Other tailor made solutions for higher capacities available on request.