Polymer Additives and It's Types

What are polymer additives?

The chemicals which are added to base polymers to improve their processability, life span, color, and other physical and chemical properties, are called polymer additives.

Polymer additives

They provide excellent properties like heat resistance, U.V resistance, anti-oxidant, high tensile strength, etc to the polymers. These polymers are widely used in flame retardants, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, paints, and coating and for inkjet printing inks.

Types of polymer additives

Following are the common types of polymers additives:

1. Plasticizers

Plasticizers are a type of polymer additive that is used in base polymer to make it more flexible. Plasticizers decrease the attraction between the polymer chains, thereby allowing them to slide past one another.

For example, Di-2-Ethylhexyl phthalate is the most common plasticizer which is added to PVC to make it more flexible. Thus, PVC can be used to make products like vinyl raincoats, shower curtains, and garden hoses.

A plasticizer should have a property known as permanence that is how well the plasticizer remains in the polymer. Because, When a significant amount of plasticizer gets evaporated, the polymer becomes brittle and develops cracks.

2. Anti-aging polymer additives

Anti-aging polymer additives are used in polymers to slow down the degradation by U.V rays, oxidizing agents, and by other natural factors. The degradation causes brittleness, discoloration, and loss of some physical properties but by using Anti-aging additives, these things can be minimized. 

Anti-aging additives are further categorized into two types that are anti-oxidants and UV stabilizers.

Examples of antioxidant additives are phenols, arylamines, and phosphates whereas examples of U.V stabilizers are benzophenones and benzotriazoles.

3. Flame retardants additives

Flame retardant additives are added to the base polymer to prevent, delay, or slow down combustion. These additives are commonly used in electrical products to avoid the ignition and burning of plastics. 

Examples of flame retardant additives are bromines, phosphorous, and nitrogen.

4. Anti-static additives

Anti-static additives are used in polymers to minimize the potential for static electricity build-up on the surface of the polymer. 

Examples of anti-static additives are amines, ammonium compounds, and polyethylene glycol esters.

5. Colorants

Colorants are added during the processing of polymer to give it desired color, according to the one's need. These additives are often pigments or dyes. The colorant selected is based on which base polymer is being used as the two materials have to be compatible with each other.

6. Odor additives

Odor additives are used in polymer to modify its smell during processing. An example of an odor additive is when a chemical is added to paints to produce a more pleasing smell.

7. Anti-microbial additives

Anti-microbial additives are used in polymer to save it from any potential microbial attack. These additives are mainly used in devices that are made prone to microbial attacks.


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