Emulsion Polymerization


Choosing the right surfactant for latex manufacturing is crucial. Stepan makes it easy with the POLYSTEP® line of phosphate esters, alkoxylates, sulfonates, sulfates, ether sulfates, as well as other specialty surfactants and functional monomers. Stepan's expertise and broad portfolio provide a wide range of functionalities for many applications, including paints and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. 

Markets are currently facing significant technological challenges and formulators are looking to Stepan to help improve adhesion, water resistance, corrosion resistance, block resistance and reduce leaching. Stepan is committed to supporting customers through a customer-focused supply chain, technical support and a strong innovation pipeline.


Check out our NEW offerings 


POLYSTEP TSP-16PE30 is a “bulky” emulsifier designed to deliver enhanced adhesion and improved water resistance. Its functionality is enabled through the reduced mobility of the surfactant due to its “bulky” nature. Learn More 


PSP buttonThe POLYSTEP® Solution Portal is a formulator’s tool to select the most appropriate Stepan chemistry.  Possible solutions can be searched by chemistry, by function, by application or by performance attribute.  Multiple APE-free and VOC-free options are available.


Product Line


Stepan leverages core technologies of sulfonation, alkoxylation (both ethylene and propylene oxides) and phosphorylation to offer a full line of surfactants for emulsion polymerization. POLYSTEP surfactants are used in systems consisting of acrylics (including styrene, vinyl and 100% acrylic), vinyl acetates, styrene butadiene and alkyds.  Stepan surfactants demonstrate efficiency, consistency and value-added performance benefits.


Attributes of nonionic surfactants: 

  • Electrolyte tolerance 
  • Freeze-thaw stability
  • Water resistance
  • Mechanical stability

Attributes of phosphate esters: 

  • Color acceptance and tint strength
  • Hydrolytic stability 
  • Pigment dispersancy
  • Corrosion resistance and metal adhesion

Attributes of anionic surfactants:  

  • Good polymerization kinetics
  • Particle size control

See all Stepan products for emulsion polymerization.

Looking for nonionic solutions?

Visit our alkoxylates microsite at alkoxylates.stepan.com.  

Product Highlights


Tridecyl-6 Phosphate Ester
Improves color acceptance and washability


Bulky Surfactant
Improves water resistance and adhesion 

Functional Monomer
Improves metal adhesion and corrosion resistance