Usually, it is not acrylic acid itself that is polymerized, it is the acrylic acid ester, whereby in the monomers the hydrogen atom of the -COOH group is replaced by a different R-group. Possible modifications are: alkyl-, polyether- and polyester- chains. The acid group can also be neutralized with an amine. Reactive groups (e.g. OH) can also be incorporated into the side chains; such modified acrylate additives can be integrated into the coating film matrix during the cross-linking reaction of the binder. The molecular weight can be varied over a wide range; the number of monomer units is typically between 40 and 800. Using just one type of monomer for the polymerization produces homopolymers, whereas co-polymers are created if several different types of monomers are used.
For liquid coatings, the polyacrylates are available either as a solvent-free additive (100 %) or in a diluted form (~50 %). For use in powder coatings, the polyacrylates are absorbed onto inert carriers (acrylate content ~60 %).