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Visible-light curable latex and heavily pigmented coating systems

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Advanced technology for paints and coatings

The solvent-based paint systems include increased amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are extremely dangerous for humans and environment. It seems that the use of the environmentally unfriendly co-solvents is inevitable even with the water-based coating systems, which offer paints and coatings of decreased quality and limited applications. To address these needs an EC funded project resulted in the development of novel water-based coating systems for household or industrial applications. The new polymer coatings and films are photochemically processed for producing safer paints and coatings that exhibit enhanced properties for a wider range of applications.

Industrial Technologies

Unlike the solvent-borne technology used in paints and coatings, water-based technology is much safer, but still risky due to the unhealthy VOCs emissions related to the required additives involved. In addition, for water-based paints and coatings, there is a conflict between film product demands and the product requirements, such as glass transition temperature. Addressing these problems, the proposed innovate solution provides a binder system of latex with a post-cure possibility. More specifically, this breakthrough curing technology combines a mechanism in the latex with the incorporation of proper photoinitiators that are sensitised under visible light. These photoinitiators absorb light in the visible or near visible region and are suitable for the production of colourless and white products after cure completion. Hence, unlike the current thermal treatment or UV radiation, this cost-efficient visible curable technology offers enormous savings in energy consumption and equipment investment. Apart from the latex, heavily pigmented coatings have been also developed that are curable under visible light. The developed technology has already been successfully tested in many coating formulations, showing improved properties, such as hardness, washability, dirt pick-up, scratch resistance, compared to commercial products. Despite the knowledge gained from the performed R&D that is valuable for the scientific community, the development of visible light curable products exhibits high technical and economic market potential. It may be used in a wide range of paints and coatings, from household (waterborne latex coatings) to industrial (heavily pigmented metal coatings) applications. Particularly, the heavily pigmented coatings are highly applicable in many indoor/outdoor paint and metal decoration applications such as aerosol cans, pails and drums, lids, caps and closures, crowns and externals for beverage cans.

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