Butyl methacrylate

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A clear, colorless liquid used for the production of acrylic resins. As early as the 1930s, solutions of polyisobutyl methacrylate (then Lucite® 45, now Elvacite® 2045) and poly n-butyl methacrylate (then Lucite® 44, now Elvacite® 2044) were used as picture varnishes (Epley 1998). By the 1960s, the resins fell into disuse because tests indicated they can crosslink. In the mid 1980s, Golden Artist colors introduced Golden MSA varnishes a proprietary mixture of isobutyl and n-butyl methacrylate polymers in a mineral spirits/Stoddard solvent type mixture. Polybutyl methacrylate was also used to make Magna Plastic paints from 1949 to the mid-1970s. A similar formulation is now made and sold as MSA colors.

See also Polymethyl methacrylate.

Synonyms and Related Terms

poly (n-butylmethacrylate); pnBMA; polibutilmetacrilato (Esp.); poli (n-butilmetacrilato) (Esp.); butyl-méhacrylate (Fr.); poli butil methacrilato (It.); polibutilmetacrilato (Port.); methacrylic acid; butyl ester

Examples: Lucite® 44; Elvacite® 2044

Chemical structure

Butyl methacrylate.jpg


  • Combustible.
  • Flash point = 41 C
  • Moderate fire risk.
  • Lachrymator.
  • Toxic by ingestion.
  • Contact causes irritation.
  • Potential teratogen.
  • Crosslinks under strong fluorescent light exposure.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Insoluble in water.
  • Tg = 22 C
Composition H3C:CCH3COOC4H9
CAS 97-88-1
Melting Point -75 C
Density 0.895 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 142.097
Refractive Index 1.4220
Boiling Point 163-164 C


Physical Properties for Selected Thermoplastic Resins

General Characteristics of Polymers

Resources and Citations

  • B. Epley, "The History of Synthetic Resin Varnishes", AIC Painting Conservation Catalog: Varnishes and Surface Coatings, p.39, 1998.
  • Paintings Specialty Group, Painting Conservation Catalog, Wendy Samet (ed.), AIC, Washington, DC, 1998

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