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Inverse Emulsion Polymerization

Inspiring Versatile Technology to Explore New Market Usages

Polymeric thickeners are one of the most widely used ingredients in formulations. Due to their ability to govern the rheological behavior, they are essential ingredients to control end-use performance as well as to drive positive consumer perception and loyalty.
Inverse emulsion polymerization is an efficient manufacturing technology to produce high performance liquid thickeners. Pre-neutralized and ready-to-use, these polymers are cold processable during formulation of finished products.

What is Inverse Emulsion Polymerization Technology?

Inverse emulsion polymerization technology is a radicalar process consisting in polymerizing hydrophilic monomers, soluble in water droplets, dispersed in an oily phase and stabilized by a low HLB (hydro lipidic balance) emulsifying system. This technology leads to the formation of a water-in-oil type emulsion in which very high molecular weight polymers are trapped in aqueous droplets. Depending on the targeted properties, polymer structure can be adapted by the use of crosslinkers.

Inverse Emulsion Polymerization has environmental benefits:

  • No need of solvent: the oil phase is a part of the final product and contributes to the properties of the thickener.
  • No waste.
  • Low temperature process (below 100°C): the heat released by the polymerization reaction allows to limit the energy consumption needed by the production.
  • Biosourced raw materials depending on polymers: the oil phases and surfactants used in the process contribute to the level of biosourced carbon.

Finally, intrinsic morphology of the polymer resulting from the polymerization process plays an important part on its final properties and makes it unique. The combination of the polymer technology and metiers expertise of SEPPIC gives rise to new polymer performance that opens new usages or new market perspective.

Inverse Emulsion Polymers-thickening mechanism

Easy-to-use Liquid Polymers

Inverse latex developped by SEPPIC are easy-to-use ingredients:

  • No need of further neutralization: polymers are pre-neutralized during the synthesis process.
  • No need of surfactant addition: inverse latex composition is adjusted to obtain a spontaneous phase inversion when added in water, leading to an oil-in-water type emulsion.
  • No need of high shear during formulation: after phase inversion, polymer chains are deployed in the aqueous phase, thanks to electrostatic repulsions between anionic groups.

Multiple usage perspectives

Texturing polymers - Innovation in Beauty Care

SEPPIC is the pioneer of inverse emulsion polymer usage in beauty care. Initially focused on thickening and stabilizing performance, the technology demonstrated along the years its great potential to customize the final customer sensory experience, even in minimalist formulations. By playing with the combinations of monomers and the nature of the oily phase, there is indeed broad sensation and emotion possibilities, from a very fresh and quick break start-up energizing effect to a rich and comfortable wrapping relaxing feeling.

Another focal area is to explore the interest of plant-based oils as part of the polymeric emulsion’s oily phase as well as exploring concentrated forms to decrease water transportation and improve the performance.

Polymer-based Adjuvant - Innovation in Vaccines

Inverse Emulsion Polymers gave birth to high-performance ready-to-use adjuvant for aqueous veterinary vaccines. These polymeric adjuvant is a unique solution to combine the high safety profile of aqueous media, the easy stabilization of various live or inactivated antigens and an optimized immune response. Suitable for various animal species, the polymer-based adjuvant is also compatible with mucosal administration.

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Stabilizing Polymer - Innovation in Topical Semi-Solid Pharmaceutical Products

Inverse Emulsion Polymers are also efficient ingredients for topical Pharmaceuticals vehicles. We designed a specific Polymer  for Pharmaceutical applications, provided with a FDA Drug Master File type IV registration. This polymer enables to easily thicken and  stabilize Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients such as Benzoyle Peroxyde, Econazole Nitrate etc. The shear thinning profile, with the possibility of varying the yield stress imparted by the polymer, insures a good spreadablity at the skin or mucosal surface and contributes to an even distribution of the Active Ingredient.

Polymer - Innovation In Detergency and Car care

The capability of inverse emulsions polymer to durably stabilize all kinds of oils and minerals additives such as Aluminum Silicates and Carbonates with a cold process opens energy and time-saving perspective in numerous applications such as detergency and car care. The polymer resistance to extreme pH from 2 to 13 and the ability to stabilize glycols media are also major assets.