Architectural coatings: Actively catching impurities
“The first step towards improvement of indoor air quality happened with the Directive 2004/42/CE of the European Parliament on the limitation of emissions of VOCs due to the use of organic solvents in certain paints and varnishes”, explains Cirila Colnar Mikeln, Head of R&D Decorative coatings at Helios.
Avoiding VOCs is an ongoing trend, as Roland Baumstark, Technical Expert for polymer dispersions for architectural coatings at BASF explains. Even though that “low odour, solvent and plasticizer free interior paints are already available, fulfilling the technical requirements and the most stringent European ecolabels”, as he says, new developments can even improve the current technical level.
He adds: “We see a trend from just avoiding VOCs in paints to actively catching or binding of air impurities.” Impurities that are currently in the focus are formaldehyde and NOx, however, he sees also potential to target ozone or fine dust in the future.
Degrade harmful substances
To achieve this, it is “the main idea of coatings producers to use the advantage of many square meters of wall and ceiling surfaces and develop paints which can either absorb or degrade the harmful substances”, explains Colner Mikeln.
She also adds that developing such paints is by many different regional regulations. “That is why coatings producers are striving towards harmonised European regulation that would define dangerous substances, their maximum allowed quantities, and the measurements procedures”, she adds.
Sustainability becomes more important
Of course, many other trends are affecting the market for architectural coatings. “In general, sustainability aspects will play a bigger role”, says Roland Baumstark. He sees bio-based building blocks as one important field. Cirila Colnar Mikeln agrees and adds. “When designing new products, coatings producers have to reconsider the entire coatings’ life cycle from raw materials formulation, production, application and curing to disposal at the end.”
This article is a shortened summary of a more expansive interview in European Coatings Journal 3/2021. The full interview is available digitally at European Coating 360°.