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Richard Wheen, Nuplex

A New Generation of Acrylic Binders for Decorative and Flooring Applications

Resin supported emulsions are widely used in the printing ink industry as they exhibit near Newtonian rheology and re-solubility properties needed for flexographic applications. The resin supports used are water soluble polymers with a high acid content and as a result, these emulsions, show poor water resistance in many coatings applications.

Nuplex has developed a novel thermoplastic and self-crosslinking core/shell process in which the shell initially functions as a nucleating site and then an in-situ stabilizer. The molecular weight and the acid content of the shell can be controlled to achieve a very fine particle size, a good MFFT/hardness balance, and improved water resistance. The near Newtonian rheology is achieved by controlling the shell content.

Products can be made having a broad range of properties suitable for brushing, roller / dip / curtain coatings, and spray applications. In this paper, the design and development of novel acrylic emulsions for decorative and floor coating applications is discussed. Their rheology behaviour, along with performance properties were studied in detail. Abrasion resistance, resistance to chemicals and cleaning agents, flexibility and impact resistance were evaluated. Exceptional flow and levelling similar to solventborne systems were achieved in these waterborne formulations.


Richard graduated from the University of NSW, Sydney, in 1977 with a B.Sc (Hons & University Medal) in Pure & Applied Chemistry.

He began his working life in analytical chemistry at CSR’s Central Laboratory in Sydney in 1973. This was followed by various Plant, Project & R&D Chemist roles in the Distillery, Sugar Refining, Building Materials & Chemicals Divisions of CSR.

In 1980 he turned his hand to Chemical Engineering & took responsibility for production at CSR’s Phthalic Anhydride & Plasticiser plants in Sydney, at a time when phthalate plasticisers were regarded as benign!

He began CSR’s shift into specialty chemical manufacture in 1984 by introducing Emulsion Polymerization of vinyl acetate / ethylene copolymers to Australia, & his specialization in emulsion polymers has continued to this day. He has held various Plant & R&D roles in Emulsion Polymer Development & Manufacture with Kemrez, ICI / Orica, APS Chemicals, & then from 2002 with Nuplex. He lives near Sydney & currently manages Polymerization R&D for the ANZ Region of Nuplex Resins.