Hybrid Polymers – the best of both worlds

Hybrid Polymers – the best of both worlds

February 18th, 2021

Hybrid is a word commonly used to describe something that is made by combining two distinct elements. A car can be a hybrid of electric power and gasoline fuel. A mule is a hybrid between a horse and a donkey. Jungle music is a hybrid of reggae and house. And so on.

In the world of industrial coatings and polymers, a hybrid means that the polymer backbone of the coating was made by combining different polymeric elements, or monomers. There may be different reasons for combining these elements (environmental, technical) but the resultant “hybrid polymer” is usually designed to reflect the benefits of the two (or more) polymer technologies that have been combined. The best of both worlds.

In the case of hybrid polyurethane polymers, this means much more than just mixing two liquid polymers together. By co-reacting polymers in the synthesis stage of the polymer development, significant benefits can be achieved that would not be possible if the polymers were simply blended together. In Stahl’s case, the polymers that are typically combined in this way are polyurethanes and acrylics. While these polymers have individual properties that add value and benefits to a polymer used in a coating formulation, sometimes single polymer technologies have drawbacks too, and these need to be overcome in order to design the coating. This is why hybrid polymers are so popular in high performance applications like interior automotive coatings, ie: the desired properties of different polymer technologies can be maximized to meet the stringent surface requirements and tests.

Another benefit of combining acrylic and polyurethane polymers into a hybrid polymer is that the volatile organic content (ie: solvent) can be dramatically reduced. This is because the acrylic “monomer” element in the hybrid design can act like a solvent and effectively replace the need for it. This means that solvent-free coatings can be designed without affecting their performance when compared to traditional organic solvent versions of the coating. 

Stahl has been designing hybrid polymers like these for many years. We are already on the 4th generation. If you would like to know more, you can contact us directly, or read more about the detais here.

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Hybrid Polymers – the best of both worlds
Michael Costello
Group Director Environment, Social & Governance