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Specialty Additives Update

August 2014

Coalescing surfactants reduce surface tension, minimum film formation temperature (MFFT), and reduce VOCs

Many applications require high glass transition temperature (Tg) waterborne resins. These resins provide hardness durability, chemical resistance, and other beneficial properties. To film form at ambient temperatures, they typically contain solvents, which are VOCs, or plasticizers, that reduce properties such as hardness, and dirt pick up. Air Products’ Dynol™ 360 and Surfynol® AD01 surfactants reduce equilibrium and dynamic surface tension while being low foaming and coalescing surfactants. They can aid film formation, reduce MFFT, and help reduce VOCs without reducing hardness or other coating properties.

A popular commercial acrylic latex used in interior and exterior coatings has a Tg of 29˚C and a MFFT of 20˚C. The manufacturer’s starting formulations list propylene glycol, ester alcohol, and glycol ether DB as coalescing solvents at VOCs from 100 g/L to 300 g/L to properly film form. Surfynol AD01 surfactant and Dynol 360 surfactant were included in the formulation to reduce VOCs and the MFFT. Using these Air Products coalescing surfactants, the clearcoat formulated at VOCs < 50 g/L and an MFFT < 5˚C. The following table lists the formulations tested, calculated VOCs, and measured MFFTs.

Ingredient
Latex
Control
Syrfynol AD01 Surfactant Example
Dynol 360 Surfactant Example

Acrylic Latex
100
100
100
100

Surfynol AD01
0
0
0.9
0

Dynol 360
0
0
0
0.9

Propylene glycol
0
6.8
2.5
2.5

Ester alcohol
0
1.8
2.5
2.5

Glycol ether DB
0
4.1
0
0

VOC (g/L); calculated
0
115
49
28

MFFT (°C)
20
<5
<5
<5



Polyurethane acrylic topcoat coated with and without Dynol 360

Surfynol AD01 and Dynol 360 surfactants aid latex particle coalescence and film formation. These surfactants can be used to reduce the MFFT and reduce VOCs of your coating by lowering coalescing solvent demand, as illustrated in the polyurethane-acrylic topcoat (0 g/L VOC) formulated with and without Dynol 360 surfactant (0.9%). Both Surfynol AD01 and Dynol 360 surfactants are compatible with a wide range of waterborne resins, including acrylic, vinyl acrylic, styrene acrylic, vinyl acetate and polyurethane dispersions, and hybrids of these polymer chemistries.


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