Acrylic Nails

The Chemistry of Acrylics

Creating the perfect set of acrylics could be considered an art, but the foundation behind it is found in the science. NAILS breaks down the chemistry behind liquid-and-powder in laymen's terms.

Before They Were Liquid & Powder

Petroleum is the raw ingredient used to create both liquid and powder. Both liquid and powder begin as a liquid monomer.

LIQUID: The liquid is prepared and synthesized from the petroleum and shipped in drums or tanker cars to the manufacturing facility.

POWDER: At the manufacturing facility, the monomer is placed in a large mixer. Water is added to dilute it. Since monomer is hydrophobic (doesn’t like water), it does not dissolve but remains suspended as tiny beads. While mixing rapidly, the initiator and catalyst are added, making the liquid monomer convert to polymer. The water is drained away, the beads dried, and additives like pigments are blended in. The powder is packaged for sale.

Other Uses for Acrylic

The same acrylic that you use to help make a living also appears in a myriad of other products.

Here are a few:

>Hearing aids

> Dentures

> Lucite trophies

> Car taillight lenses

> Bone cement

> Contact lenses

> Airplane windows

> Aquariums

Our Expert Sources 

Doug Schoon

author of Nail Structure and Product Chemistry, CND Chief Scientific Advisor

Fred Slack

owner, NSI

Paul Bryson

director of research and development, OPI


Curious how other products work? Learn all about the composition of nail polish online at www.

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