Published July 1980
Continued growth in markets for methacrylate polymers for acrylic sheets and acrylic coatings has led to increased demand for the monomers, chiefly methyl methacrylate, but also including smaller amounts of specialty methacrylate esters made from methacryllc acid.
New processes have been proposed to replace the established route for making methyl methacrylate from acetone, hydrogen cyanide, and methanol. The acetone cyanohydrln route suffers from production of acidic wastes; the newer processes avoid these wastes and may also offer lower capital investment, lower production costs, and direct production of methacrylic acid.
This report presents technical and economic evaluations of several new methyl methacrylate processes. Detailed process descriptions and cost estimates are given for processes that begin with isobutylene, t-butanol, or mixed butylenes, and produce methacrylic acid via methacrolein. Recesses that begin with isobutyric acid or allyl acetate are also included. A sixth process is based on production of methyl methacrylate from ethylene, carbon monoxide, methanol, and formaldehyde, via methyl propionate.
In their present stage of development, the last three processes appear to have about the same production costs as the acetone cyanohydrin route. The three processes that produce a methacrolein intermediate are markedly superior economically to the acetone cyanohydrin route, on the basis of new plant construction and current raw materials costs.
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