Green painting applications go beyond the actual coating and are also concerned with the raw materials involved in the manufacture of the coatings formulation. In the case of alkyd-based paints, manufacturers conduct in-depth research and development of the raw materials that make up the alkyd-based paint, and do some enhancements and modifications to turn oil-based alkyds into green painting-compliant water-based formulations.
The water-based alkyd technology faces some challenges, because water-borne coatings products often have technical limitations when compared with their oil-based counterparts. The inclusion of solvents in oil-based products is a very critical element of successful coatings applications in the past, but this very element is what makes alkyd products harmful to the environment. Solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pose environmental problems when released to the surrounding atmosphere. Doing away with solvents will make alkyd-based formulations more appropriate for green painting applications. But removing the solvents often causes performance degradation for the coatings products.
Caught in such a dilemma, green painting manufacturers turn to water-oil hybrid alkyd products that offer a compromise between retaining the performance characteristics of conventional alkyd and becoming solvent-free. The new alkyd resins are suspended in an aqueous solution, and they are designed to disperse much like solvent-borne alkyds. The hybrid resins can be integrated into coating products that are low in VOCs, such as acrylics, epoxies and urethanes, while retaining the technical advantages of conventional alkyds in terms of applicability and performance. With these hybrid resins, gloss chemistry, surface adhesion and penetration properties, flow and other technical properties are still included minus the solvents.
These advancements really push the alkyd technology forward and in support of green painting applications. Manufacturers are just seeing the tip-of-the-iceberg when it comes to green painting alkyd formulations, and the future holds more promising potential in this direction.