Hydroxyethylmethacrylate or HEMA is the monomer that is used to make the polymer polyhydroxyethylmethacrylate. The polymer is hydrophobic; however, when the polymer is subjected to water it will swell due to the molecule's hydrophilic pendant group. Depending on the physical and chemical structure of the polymer, it is capable of absorbing from 10 to 600% water relative to the dry weight. Because of this property, it was one of the first materials to be successfully used in the manufacture of flexible contact lenses.
1. 2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate is used in light curing polymer system and high performance coatings for lasting high gloss against cratching, solvents and weathering
2. It is used in paint resins and emulsions, binders for textiles and paper
3. It is used as a adhesion promoter for metal coatings