Decoding the Manufacturing Process of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA): Technologies Adopted by Industry Leaders

Written by ChemAnalyst Data  »  Updated on: April 25th, 2024

Decoding the Manufacturing Process of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA): Technologies Adopted by Industry Leaders

Ready to dive into the world of cutting-edge polymers? Today, we're shining the spotlight on Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, or EVA – the superhero of polymers! So, what's the deal with EVA? Well, it's not your average resin – oh no! It's a super-special copolymer of vinyl acetate and ethylene, packed with some seriously awesome properties. We're talking flexibility that'll make your jaw drop, the ability to brave even the chilliest temperatures, and toughness that can stand up to any chemical thrown its way. In this blog, we will read more about EVA and unleash the secrets this material holds along with its manufacturing process in detail. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive into it!


EVA, a polymer blend of ethylene and vinyl acetate, stands out among plastics due to its distinctive properties. Its composition grants it a range of advantages that distinguish it in various applications. Regarding production, EVA boasts ease of processing. It lends itself well to molding, extrusion, or foaming, enabling diverse shapes and configurations and enhancing design possibilities. This versatility renders it indispensable across industries, spanning from packaging to healthcare.

EVA has the following characteristics:

Flexibility: EVA remains pliable and doesn't become stiff or brittle. For example, in cold weather conditions, materials like EVA can still bend and stretch without breaking, making them ideal for applications where flexibility is crucial, such as in footwear or packaging.

Resilient: Resilience refers to the ability of a material to return to its original shape or form after being stretched, compressed, or deformed. In the case of EVA, its resilience means that it can withstand pressure or impact without permanently deforming. This property makes it suitable for products that undergo repetitive stress or impact, like athletic gear or cushioning materials.

Tough at low and moderate temperatures: EVA maintains its strength and durability even when exposed to low or moderate temperatures. It can withstand external forces or impacts without breaking or cracking, ensuring the integrity of the material. This toughness makes it suitable for various applications, including outdoor equipment, automotive parts, or industrial components.

Crack resistant: EVA's crack resistance means that it can endure bending, stretching, or impact without developing cracks or fractures. This property is crucial for ensuring the longevity and reliability of products made from EVA, such as footwear, toys, or packaging materials.

Manufacturing Process

There are several ways to create EVA through the copolymerization of ethylene and vinyl acetate, including solution polymerization, suspension polymerization, bulk polymerization, and emulsion polymerization.

In solution polymerization, a solvent is used alongside a catalyst to facilitate the reaction between ethylene and vinyl acetate. The preferred solvents are alcohols with four or fewer carbon atoms, or mixtures where these alcohols are the main component. Examples include methanol, ethanol, and propanol, with methanol being the most favorable choice. While any radical initiator can technically be used as a catalyst in EVA production, some options are more favorable. This invention particularly highlights azo compounds as preferred catalysts. Two specific examples of suitable azo compounds are 2,2'-azobis-(2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile) and 2,2'-azobis-(2,4,4-trimethylvaleronitrile).

There are several options for feeding vinyl acetate and the catalyst into the reaction vessel:

Pre-mix: Combine all three (vinyl acetate, solvent, and catalyst) beforehand and feed them together.

Separate Feed 1: Dissolve the catalyst in the solvent, then feed the vinyl acetate and solvent separately.

Separate Feed 2: Feed the vinyl acetate separately from a pre-mixed liquid containing the catalyst and solvent.

Separate Feeds (Preferred): Introduce separate streams of a pre-mixed liquid containing vinyl acetate and solvent, and another pre-mixed liquid containing the catalyst and solvent.

The ideal polymerization temperature falls within a range of 40°C to 80°C. Temperatures below 40°C require a longer reaction time, necessitating an increased amount of catalyst, which can complicate control of the process. Conversely, exceeding 80°C makes controlling the polymerization difficult.

The average time the reaction mixture spends within the vessel (residence time) is preferably between 2 and 8 hours, with a narrower preference of 2 to 6 hours. A residence time shorter than 2 hours requires adjustments like increasing the reaction temperature or catalyst amount, both of which can make control of the polymerization more challenging. After the EVA copolymerization process, the resulting product undergoes further processing to create usable forms.

The first step involves using an alcohol solution (or an alcohol-water solution) of the EVA copolymer that has been saponified (a chemical treatment). This solution serves as the base for creating strands. These strands are then formed by extruding the alcohol solution into a solidifying liquid, typically water or a water-alcohol mix. The solidified strands are cut into pellets and rinsed with water.

Following rinsing, the pellets can optionally undergo a chemical treatment. This may involve immersing them in a water-based solution containing acids or their salts. Examples of suitable chemicals include formic acid, acetic acid (preferred choice), adipic acid, other carboxylic acids, phosphoric acid, boric acid, or their salts.

Finally, the dried pellets are ready for melt-molding into various desired products. The preferred temperature range for melt-molding is between 160°C and 260°C. During molding, various additives can be incorporated as needed. Additionally, the EVA copolymer can be blended with other thermoplastic resins for further modification. There are numerous melt-molding methods available, including injection molding, compression molding, and extrusion molding. Extrusion molding offers even more possibilities, with techniques like T-die, blow molding, pipe extrusion, wire extrusion, irregularly shaped die extrusion, inflation, and more. The processed EVA can be molded into various final products, either by itself (films, sheets, tapes, bottles, pipes, filaments, irregularly shaped extrusions) or through co-extrusion with other thermoplastic resins.

Lyondell Basell uses the Lupotech process to produce EVA. The overall EVA production process can be segmented into several distinct process units: Pre-compression of ethylene, compression to reach reaction conditions, the polymerization reaction itself, separation of polymer from gas, recycling of unreacted gases, extrusion, pelletizing, degassing, storage, and packaging.

In the Lupotech T tubular reactor, the entire flow of ethylene is received from the hyper compressor, entering the first reaction zone preheated to temperatures ranging between 150–170°C and under pressures ranging from 2000 to 3100 bar. For the synthesis of copolymers, specific comonomers like vinyl acetate or acrylic-based monomers are introduced. The reaction is initiated by injecting organic peroxides into the reactor at various points following each reaction peak, which optimizes the temperature profile of the reaction mixture.

On the other hand, in the Lupotech A autoclave reactor, compressed ethylene from the secondary compressor is directed through flow splitters to designated points within the reactor. An organic liquid peroxide initiator is introduced to sustain a continuous polymerization reaction within controlled temperature zones. Additionally, a comonomer modifier is injected to regulate product properties. The effluent from the reactor is then discharged through a product cooler into the high-pressure separator.

Applications of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA):


Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is a superstar material in the footwear industry. Thanks to its impressive cushioning, shock absorption, and flexibility, EVA is a go-to material for crafting comfortable and supportive insoles, midsoles, and outsoles. This makes it a popular pick for a wide range of footwear, from athletic shoes that help you conquer your workout to comfy sandals and casual shoes for everyday wear.

Sports Goods

EVA shines in the world of sports and recreation due to its exceptional cushioning and impact resistance. This makes it a hero material for various equipment, including sports padding, helmet liners, yoga mats, exercise mats, and protective gear like knee pads and shin guards. By absorbing shock and blows, EVA helps athletes of all levels train and perform safely and comfortably.


Cars are another place where EVA shows off its versatility. Inside the vehicle, EVA contributes to comfort and functionality. Floor mats made from EVA are a common sight, and it's also used to create supportive headrests, attractive door panels, and even instrument panels. Beyond comfort, EVA's presence extends to essential car parts like gaskets, seals, and insulation materials.


Because EVA plastic is lightweight, flexible, and great at absorbing shock, it's a champion in the world of packaging. Commonly found as foam inserts, protective packaging for delicate items, and padding materials for electronics, EVA helps keep your valuable products safe and sound during transport.

Solar Panels

Ethylene vinyl acetate is a key player in solar panel technology. This material boasts excellent properties for solar applications. It allows sunlight to pass through easily (good radiation transmission) and resists degradation from sunlight over time (low degradability). In the solar panel manufacturing process, EVA acts as a glue (encapsulating agent). When heated and applied, it forms a protective layer (sealing and insulating film) that encases the delicate solar cells within the panel. This layer safeguards the cells and keeps them functioning optimally.

Market Outlook:

The footwear industry reigns as the main driver of the global market for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). This dominance is expected to continue due to the ever-growing global population. EVA's winning formula for footwear lies in its impressive combination of properties: high resistance, excellent grip, crack resistance, thermal insulation, shock absorption, chemical resistance, vibration dampening, and low water absorption. Beyond footwear, EVA finds another key application in the solar energy sector. Here, it serves as an adhesive that encapsulates photovoltaic (PV) modules within solar panels. This not only provides structural support but also ensures electrical isolation, further fueling the demand for EVA.

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Major Manufacturers

Significant companies in the Global Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) market are ExxonMobil Corporation, Sinopec, Hanwha Total Petrochemical, Formosa Plastics Corporation, BASF-YPC, The Dow Chemical Company, Celanese, Shaanxi Yanchang Zhongmei Yulin Energy Chemical Co., Ltd, Asia Polymer Corporation, PJSC Kazanorgsintez, and Others.


Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is a versatile polymer with numerous useful applications. EVA is a material that can morph into many shapes and structures. It is great when it comes to resisting water and moisture, providing cushioning and shock absorption, insulating against heat, and lasting a long time. This winning combination, especially its lightweight design with shock-absorbing capabilities, makes it a superstar in the world of sports footwear. You'll find EVA in various parts of athletic shoes, from outsoles and midsoles to insoles. But its popularity goes beyond just sports shoes; it's become a common element in all types of footwear. EVA's versatility extends beyond shoes as well, finding use as padding and interfacing in various applications. The increasing popularity of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), propelled by its exceptional friction coefficient and long-lasting nature, is fueling its utilization in the production of footwear. This trend is anticipated to significantly boost the global Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) demand.

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