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Browse previously asked/answered questions below.

  • During press runs, I have undue foam in my waterborne ink. How can I prevent this?

     

    Jeanine Snyder
    Principal Development Chemist

    The selection of a defoamer for a given formulation must take into consideration many factors, including ink raw materials, method of manufacture, and means of application and cure conditions. The optimum defoamer will be one that balances the strength of the defoamer with the compatibility and solubility of the defoamer in the system. Air Products offers a range of products allowing a systematic approach to defoamer selection based on product performance. In the toughest systems, where foam control is critical without causing defects, Airase® 5400, Airase 5500 and Surfynol® DF66 defoamers, our siloxane-based defoamers specifically designed for aqueous ink systems, offer you the performance you need. These products are specifically designed to have predictable performance in terms of defoaming strength and formulation compatibility. No matter what your formulating needs, Air Products offers innovative and flexible solutions to the challenges you face.

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  • How Can I Improve the Colorant Acceptance of My Paints?

     

    Jim Reader
    Lead Chemist

    Problems such as pigment float, loss of color and poor rub up when colorants are added to paints occur because some additives used to stabilize the colorant dispersion migrate to pigments and fillers in the white base paint. This causes the colorant pigment to flocculate, causing poor colorant acceptance. Compatibilizers, such as Air Products ZetaSperse® 179 and 182 Dispersants and Carbowet® GA100 and GA210 Surfactants, when used in the paint preparation,can help to compatibilize colorants for improved color development and acceptance by providing fast acting, additional stabilizing properties to the colorant when it is added to the base paint. This stabilization can also help to improve rub up properties and prevent pigment flotation. Carbowet GA100 and GA210 can also help to improve the preparation of the base paint by rapidly wetting and deaerating the dry pigments and fillers and then acting as a co-dispersant to accelerate the milling process.

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  • How Can I Prevent Curtain Break and Egging in My Adhesives?

     

    Jim Reader
    Lead Chemist

    The thin, falling film of an adhesive applied by curtain coating can be disrupted by air currents, bubbles, grit or poorly dispersed solids. These disturbances, either in the main film or at the edges, create waves that can propagate at speeds that will break the curtain if they exceed the curtain speed. One way to reduce this wave propagation and avoid curtain break is to lower the surface tension of the adhesive with surfactants. The surfactants, however, must be very fast acting because both surfaces of the falling curtain exist only for milliseconds between creation and substrate contact.

    Surfactants such as Surfynol® 440 and 2502 and superwetters like Dynol™ 800 and 810 are highly dynamic wetting agents that can quickly lower the surface tension of the falling curtain after creation. These anti-foaming surfactants are also highly effective at wetting substrates like release liners and tapes.

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  • How Can I Prevent Edge Retraction in Solvent Free Epoxy Floor Paints?

     

    Jim Reader
    Lead Chemist

    Edge retraction is a surface tension driven flow effect that causes the still liquid paint to shrink away from edges as the paint cures. Differences in surface tension between the paint at the edge of the coating and the rest of the formulation are strong enough to make the paint flow back into the center as the paint tries to reduce its surface area and energy.

    Superwetters like Dynol™ 960 and 980 Surfactants act by both effectively wetting the floor substrate and minimizing surface tension differences on the paint surface to prevent flow. This stops the edge retraction and helps prevent other surface tension related defects such as fisheyes and orange peel.

    Dynol™ 960 and 980 Surfactants are low viscosity, easy to handle liquids that do not contribute to paint VOC or emissions. They also do not affect the pot life, cure profile or hardness of the epoxy formulations.

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  • I’m having trouble stabilizing a low-cost pigment source. What can make this easier?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    Qualifying alternative raw materials is a necessity these days, but often what is promoted as an offset fails to be a true “drop-in.” With pigments in particular, alternatives may meet specifications while creating stability problems in a colorant or ink. The right technical solution can help reduce these headaches and minimize the work needed to utilize a new pigment source.

    ZetaSperse® 3600 dispersant is a new addition to Air Products’ additive offerings and has shown excellent benefit for doing just that—stabilizing widely varied pigment surface chemistries. Based on low- and mid-MW stabilizing polymers and strong pigment wetting agents, this robust combination provides a ready dispersant solution to many common pigment chemistries, regardless of source or variation in surface treatments. ZetaSperse 3600 dispersant (52% in water) is best used as the primary stabilizer but can be used as a co-dispersant in resinated systems.

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  • I need help to quickly identify the best dispersant and defoamer for my coating or ink formulation.
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    FAZT, our Formulator Assisting ZetaSperse® Tool, is just what you need. Go to www.fazt.com via your mobile device or desktop to get started. Choose your specific pigment grade from a global database of over 1500 different pigment products (searchable by name, color, color index or supplier), modify your pigment loadings as needed, and FAZT will instantly provide you with a starting point formulation to work with based on our extensive testing and experience. The FAZT tool will also provide a top performing defoamer recommendation, as well as, describe the characteristics and benefits of each suggestion. And with a single click, you can email your formulation to yourself or a colleague. See what makes FAZT the leading industry formulation selection tool, visit www.fazt.com today.

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  • What is a good, costeffective dispersant that will quickly optimize my aqueous formulation?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    You need a robust dispersant like Air Products’ ZetaSperse 2300. With its excellent efficiency and high actives content, you can minimize your use levels making it very cost effective. ZetaSperse 2300 is based on a synergistic combination of low molecular weight (<1 kDa) alkylaryl sulphonate and alkyl ethoxylate chemistries that provides flexible surface affinity and stabilization characteristics. Since it is optimized for performance in all aspects of the dispersion process, ZetaSperse 2300 also requires little or no additional formulation with other surface active agents to achieve optimal performance. Particularly effective with titanium dioxide, organic and carbon black pigments, ZetaSperse 2300 dispersant also provides excellent performance with silicas, fillers, and functional chemicals in a wide range of aqueous systems.

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  • How can I overcome coating defects when formulating a low-VOC, water-based coating for plastic substrates?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development Chemist 

    Applying waterborne coatings on difficult-to-coat surfaces like plastics, films and non-porous substrates presents significant challenges for the coatings formulator. Maximum wetting and minimal defects require the proper surfactant to promote substrate wetting and minimize foam generation. Air Products' Dynol™ surfactants offer a superior balance of properties compared to traditional silicone and fluorosurfactants. Based on Gemini technology, the Dynol 300, 600 and 800 series surfactants have the ability to reduce both equilibrium and dynamic surface tensions to levels not achieved with other surfactants. These organic superwetting surfactants offer superior dynamic surface tension reduction under diverse application conditions. Our new, low-foam siloxane-based Dynol 900 series surfactants offer premium equilibrium and dynamic surface tension reduction making them the ideal choice for plastic substrates when foam cannot be tolerated.
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  • I’m working on some new formulations, and the defoamers I usually work with aren’t working. Why is this, and how can I quickly find a suitable defoamer for my new formulation?

    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    The performance of a defoamer is affected by the nature of the formulation it is being used in; familiar products that have worked well in the past may not work as expected when used in different formulation types. Changes in the binder chemistry, the amount of both binder and solid materials such as pigments and fillers, can affect the defoamer performance, as well as viscosity and the presence of strong surfactants.

    The AiraseTM Structured Siloxane Defoamer Line (SSDLTM defoamers) is a range of defoamers that have been developed with predictable performance relative to each other so as to allow a systematic approach to defoamer selection. The performance of one defoamer in a given formulation can be used to forecast how the other defoamers will behave in the same formulation; if the first attempt isn’t successful, you can choose your next defoamer to test more logically and find an answer quicker than with the traditional “next bottle on the shelf” approach.

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  • How can I remove foam and improve the aesthetics of my urethane/acrylic water-based wood coating?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development Chemist 

    The application of water-borne coatings on difficult-to-coat substrates such as wood, plastics, films and poorly prepared metal surfaces presents significant challenges to the coatings formulator. To maximize wetting and minimize defects like craters, fisheyes, orange peel and pinholes, the proper surfactant is needed, not only to promote substrate wetting but also to minimize foam generation. Dynol™ 800 surfactant has been developed to meet the growing need for high performance surfactants. Dynol 800 surfactant provides a superior balance of properties compared to traditional fluorosurfactants and silicone surfactants, with exceptional performance in wood and plastic coatings as well as a wide variety of other water-based coating applications. Based on Gemini technology, Dynol 800 surfactant has the ability to reduce both equilibrium and dynamic surface tension to levels not achieved with other surfactants. In a three-coat brush application of a model urethane-acrylic hybrid interior wood coating, Dynol 800 surfactant is the formulator’s choice for improved wetting, superior flow and leveling, and foam control compared to coatings containing silicone surfactants.
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  • How does potlife affect additive selection for waterborne 2K epoxy coatings?
    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    The potlife of a 2K waterborne coating is an important parameter for formulators and applicators, because the for-mulation components begin re-acting when mixed and continue reacting through the potlife until the polymer formation reaches a critical point where one or more of its application properties (including minimum film formation temperature) are no longer suitable to apply or form a suitable coating. However, recent tests have shown that the surface tension of 2K waterborne epoxy coatings does not vary much through the duration of its potlife; therefore, efficient, low-foam wetting agents, such as Surfynol® 420 surfactant, can maintain excellent surface appearance and wetting properties during this time. Other wetting agents, like silicones, can show orange peel, especially early after mixing. Surfactants, such as the alkyl-phenol-ethoxylate-free Carbowet® 109 surfactant, can also help to ensure that hydrophobic liquid epoxy resin is quickly emulsified by the waterborne curing agent, preventing craters and inconsistent film formation if the coating is applied too soon after mixing.
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  • My coating needs a silicone defoamer, but everything I try results in craters or fisheyes! How can I achieve powerful defoaming without causing surface defects?
    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    Air Products’ Surfynol® DF-178 defoamer was developed to provide the defoaming strength of a silicone-based defoamer but with the superior system compatibility needed in higher gloss and clear coat applications. As a result, this 100% active liquid defoamer is suitable for use in a large number of different resin systems. For polyurethane dispersion, polyurethane/acrylic hybrid, and two-component epoxy formulations, Surfynol DF-178 defoamer should be the first choice of the formulator because it enables the production of foam-free, defect-free clear and pigmented coatings. Strong performance in two-component polyurethane, water-based alkyd, acrylic and styrene-acrylic systems, as well as in pigment dispersions, has also been observed. Surfynol DF-178 defoamer also acts as a deaerator to provide strong defoaming and microfoam control in spray applications. Recommended use levels of Surfynol DF-178 defoamer in coatings vary from between 0.1–0.75 wt % on finished systems.
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  • I’m finding it difficult to control microfoam and pinholes in my airless spray applied topcoats. What would you suggest?
    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    Microfoam is caused by small air bubbles that are caught in the paint film by the spray process and rise too slowly in the drying film, so they remain trapped at or beneath the surface. Pinholes are often caused when these small bubbles break free at the surface, and the film is too viscous to flow back and fill the hole left behind. Pinholes can also appear when coatings are baked; bubbles, initially trapped below the surface, rise as the coating flows under the heat and before it gains viscosity through cross-linking.

    Deaerators are needed to bring these bubbles to the surface quickly so that the air can be released before the film sets. Molecular defoamers, such as Surfynol® DF110C defoamer or Surfynol® AD01 defoamer are effective deaerators for many spray applied coatings. These products can also be used in combination with other defoamers, such as Surfy¯nol DF58 defoamer or Surfynol DF70 defoamer, if stronger defoaming is required.
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  • What effective fluorosurfactant replacements are available for my coatings formulations?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Because of the environmental and health concerns associated with fluorosurfactants, many formulators are seeking effective alternatives for their coatings. Air Products’ superwetters, Dynol™ 604, Dynol™ 607 and Dynol® 360 surfactants, can relieve the concerns associated with fluorosurfactants because they do not contain bioaccumulative perfluoroalkyl chains. APEO-free and negligible to zero-VOC, Air Products’ superwetters have been proven in extensive testing of actual formulations to effectively outperform fluorosurfactants, silicones and other hydrocarbon surfactants. As organic surfactants, Dynol 360, Dynol 604 and Dynol 607 surfactants have greater resin compatibility that allows for better recoatability and inter-coat adhesion. These novel surfactants can be used alone or in conjunction with other additives, such as Air Products’ Surfynol® products, to achieve broad formulating latitude and optimal product performance in new systems or as a substitute in existing formulations.
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  • I’m continuing to experience surface defects such as pinholes and craters in my coatings. Help.
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Surfaces contaminated with dirt and dust are difficult to wet, and problems such as pinholes, fish eyes and craters often result when coatings are applied to such a surface. The key to effective, defect-free coverage is for the surface tension of the waterborne system to be lower than the surface energy of the substrate. Also, ineffective or incompatible defoamers can make matters worse. Choosing an efficient, low-foam dynamic wetting agent can help by wetting surface contaminants and significantly reducing the need for defoamers. Superwetters such as Dynol® 360 and Dynol™ 604 surfactants provide maximum low-foam dynamic wetting for difficult systems, and Air Products’ range of Surfynol® DF series defoamers provides a balance between foam control and compatibility.
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  • I have been experiencing flow and leveling surface defects, such as orange peel, with my waterborne coating formulation. How can I overcome this problem?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Orange peel is a common surface defect seen when waterborne coating formulations have poor flow and leveling. Air Products’ superwetters, Dynol® 360 and Dynol™ 604 surfactants, not only help reduce orange peel and improve flow and leveling but they also increase gloss in many types of industrial coatings. If higher water-solubility is needed in the additive, then Surfynol® 440 and SE-F surfactants should be tried, as they provide a balance between very good dynamic wetting and excellent system compatibility.
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  • How can I formulate a low-VOC coating that forms a continuous film at low temperature?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    MFFT, or minimum film formation temperature, is the lowest temperature at which a coating will form a continuous film without cracking or losing film properties. Having a coating with a sufficiently low MFFT is important for aesthetics and for non-ideal application conditions, such as low temperatures, because it extends the painting season. Reduction of MFFT can be accomplished in a number of ways: reducing the Tg of the resin used, which yields a softer coating that has poorer scrub resistance properties; adding a coalescing solvent, which increases the VOC content of the formulation; or utilizing a coalescing surfactant like Air Products’ Dynol® 360 and AD01 surfactants. Unlike the other alternatives, Dynol 360 and AD01 surfactants lower the MFFT of a system without detracting from film properties while also providing outstanding defect-free foam control and excellent wetting. They also help the formulator create coatings that meet stringent environmental and VOC requirements.
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  • How can I get more color out of my pigment?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    Pigments can be one of the most expensive components of waterborne ink formula-tions. To address this challenge, Air Products understands your need to increase your color development and pigment loading and has developed a variety of pigment wetting agents, grind aids and dispersants suitable for a wide range of organic and inorganic pigments. Proprietary ZetaSperse® and Surfynol® CT series additives provide optimal wetting and dispersancy for reduced mill-base processing time. These additives are highly efficient when compared to competitive additives, enabling either less dispersant or less pigment, thus achieving cost savings. They also enable stabilization of a high concentration of pigment in water at low viscosity to achieve a higher throughput and/or a product with a higher pigment loading. These unique properties translate to unique benefits for formulators.
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  • I’m confused by the bewildering number of defoamers available. Do you have any simple guideline to help me choose a defoamer?
    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    As waterborne coatings contain many different ingredients, it can be difficult to predict a defoamer’s performance. However, some simple elements to consider first are the VOC and viscosity of the formulation. High-PVC (pigment volume concentration) formulations and high-viscosity formulations need strong defoamers, like mineral oils, such as Surfynol® DF75 defoamer. In high-gloss systems, mineral oils can cause haze, so in these systems silicone defoamers, such as Surfynol DF58 defoamer or Surfynol DF62 defoamer, can give effective foam control without haze. It can be difficult to control foam in low-viscosity formulations and clear coats, because strong defoamers can cause incompatibility problems like craters and fish-eyes. In these cases, molecular defoamers such as Surfynol DF110D defoamer or Surfynol® AD01 defoamer work best.
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  • How can I get a good black or dark grey color in my waterborne epoxy coatings without pigment flooding or flotation problems?
    Jim Reader
    Lead Research Chemist

    Pigment flooding or floating can occur when one of the pigments is not adequately stabilized and can separate from the mixture due to differences in mobility with the rest of the system. This effect often occurs in mixtures of heavier inorganic pigments
    and fillers and smaller, lighter-weight pigments, such as carbon blacks. This effect is more common for the more intensely colored carbon blacks needed for dark colors. The effect can be difficult to control in two-component systems like waterborne epoxy formulations, where the pigment can be perfectly stabilized in one component, but loses stability when the two components are mixed together.

    In such systems, specialized dispersants that can effectively stabilize these difficult carbon blacks and cope with the changes in pH and environment upon mixing of the resin and hardener are useful. ZetaSperse® 3100 pigment dispersing additive was developed especially for such pigments and can provide excellent performance in water-based epoxy formulations. ZetaSperse 2300 pigment dispersing additive is also proven to provide effective performance with many different pigments, including high tint strength carbon blacks.
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  • I am formulating waterborne alkyd coatings and need defoamer additives to improve my coating manufacturing, application and performance properties. What can you suggest?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Waterborne alkyd coatings are gaining popularity due to their enhanced properties, green chemistry and low VOCs. However, like most resins, waterborne alkyd coatings require specific defoamers to achieve optimal performance. Defoamers reduce or eliminate foam and help avoid production, application and applied coating problems. Our studies demonstrate that Surfynol® DF-58 and DF-66 silicone defoamers (used at 0.05% to 0.5% of total formula) and Surfynol DF-75 organic oil defoamer (used at 0.2% to 1%) provide excellent compatibility and defoaming. These additives enhance gloss of high-gloss coatings and provide excellent substrate coverage, appearance and protection. In wood coatings, such as clear varnishes and stains, they promote complete coverage, smooth finish, and excellent gloss, clarity and distinctness of image. In industrial coatings, such as metal primers, they eliminate defects such as pinholes, craters and other defects that can lead to corrosion, disbondment and other failures.
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  • How can I overcome the surface defects I’m experiencing in my spray-applied coating?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    In spray-applied, high-speed coatings techniques – and even in traditional applications – the surfactant’s ability to migrate rapidly and effectively to the newly formed surface is critical to achieving defect-free surfaces. The solution is to use a surfactant that can effectively reduce equilibrium surface tension and maintain its performance under dynamic conditions when the rate of surface creation increases. Research and extensive industry testing have shown that low-foam dynamic wetting agents within the Surfynol® and Dynol™ surfactant product lines are ideal solutions to this problem. The optimum surfactant will depend on the specific formulation and substrate; therefore, we recommend selecting the dynamic wetting agents recommended for the particular application in which you will use your formulation. Please refer to the application pages for these product recommendations.
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  • How do I select a pigment dispersant?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    Selecting the right dispersant-pigment combination can be very challenging, as pigments vary widely from source to source and region to region, even within the same color index number. To help our customers save time and testing, we’ve developed an online product selection tool, F.A.Z.T., that instantly recommends a dispersant and calculates a starting point formulation based on a choice of a specific pigment grade from over 1800 products. Developed from empirical testing, pigment properties, and theoretical understanding, the F.A.Z.T. helps a formulator select a pigment dispersant and accelerate product development.

    To learn more and see how the F.A.Z.T. tool can help you, visit www.airproducts.com/fazt.
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  • I’m continuing to experience surface defects such as pinholes and craters in my coatings. What do you recommend?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Surface contaminated with dirt and dust are difficult to wet, and problems such as pinholes, fish eyes and craters often result when the coating is applied to such a surface. The key to effective, defect-free coverage is for the surface tension of the waterborne system to be lower than the surface energy of the substrate. Additionally, ineffective defoamers or those that are incompatible can contribute to these defects. Choosing an efficient, low-foam dynamic wetting agent can help resolve these problems by wetting surface contaminants and significantly reducing the need for defoaming agents. Superwetters such as Dynol® 360 and Dynol™ 604 surfactants provide maximum low-foam dynamic wetting for very difficult systems, and Air Products’ broad range of Surfynol® DF-Series defoamers provide an optimized balance between foam control and system compatibility. We recommend selecting a defoamer designed to perform best in your particular application. Please refer to the application pages for these product recommendations.
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  • Why is surface tension important in aqueous pigment dispersion?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    When preparing an aqueous pigment dispersion, it’s important to control the system surface tension to help enable adequate wetting of the hydrophobic pigment powders. Without proper surface tension control, it may be time and energy consuming to incorporate the powdered pigment into an aqueous solution. Then, even after incorporation, the pigment particles can remain inadequately “wetted,” leaving air pockets trapped on or in the agglomerates, thus causing foam and efficiency problems throughout the milling phase. While dispersing polymers and grind resins is useful to enable stabilization, they are typically inadequate in providing the surface tension control for optimal performance. Traditional surfactants, like APEs, can be used to help but often cause problems of their own, such as foam stabilization and competitive interactions with the dispersing polymers. By using a Gemini defoaming wetting agent, such as the Surfynol® AD01, Surfynol® 104, Surfynol 420, and Surfynol DF110 surfactants, you can control the system surface tension for optimal performance while minimizing any adverse effects such as foam or dispersion viscosity impact. In many systems, these products will even function as molecular defoamers, disrupting the foam caused by other chemistries.
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  • What technologies are available to formulate coatings for green concrete?
    Dilip Shah
    Group Leader Civil Engineering Applications Epoxy Additives

    Market trends continue to push for a faster return to service for recently poured, or "green," concrete. To date, few options have been available, and traditional formulations have up to a 95% concrete failure in standard bond strength testing.

    Recent development efforts have shown that flooring systems incorporating Air Products' waterborne Anquamine® 701 curing agent exhibit excellent adhesion to green concrete just 24 hours after the concrete was poured (as compared to the 28-day wait to use traditional coating systems).

    Anquamine 701 curing agent-based formulations have great mechanical properties and hardness development, as well as excellent handling properties and a good balance of working life and drying speed over a range of application temperatures. The unique property of breathability is possible over both well-cured and green concrete because Anquamine 701 curing agent enables the flooring system to be semipermeable, thereby allowing moisture to evaporate out of the concrete. The curing agent is effective in both primer and topcoat systems for self-leveling concrete floors and provides rapid drying times 2 to 5 times faster than conventional waterborne technology.
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  • How can I get ultrahigh performance at a reasonable cost in a two-component waterborne coating system?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    Today's marketplace requires that companies respond to five industry demands: higher performance, lower odor/VOC levels, easier-to-use systems, coatings that are safer to manufacture and apply, and systems that are more cost-effective.

    Air Products offers a full line of industry-tested waterborne resins and curing agents that provide the high performance you need in 2K waterborne industrial coatings, at a reasonable cost in use. Our line includes Adura® polyols, which provide outstanding gloss and weatherability in zero-VOC, water-based polyurethane coatings; and Ancarez™ AR550 resin and Anquamine® curing agents, which offer excellent application and coating performance in ultralow and zero-VOC waterborne epoxy coatings. These proven chemistries can be used in a wide range of systems, from polyurethane to epoxy, for high-performance waterborne metal or concrete and masonry coatings.

    Our formulating experts have the experience to help you shorten your development cycles and improve your overall results. Let us help you develop the differentiated performance your product line needs.
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  • How can I produce a high-performance industrial flooring system with high permeability?
    Dilip Shah
    Group Leader Civil Engineering Applications Epoxy Additives

    Moisture vapor transmission is currently a significant challenge in the development of high-performance industrial floor coatings. In response to this market need, Air Products has developed Anquamine® 701 curing agent, based on a polymeric emulsion for use primarily with liquid epoxy resins. This proprietary epoxy curing agent offers formulators of industrial flooring systems the ability to create microporous, permeable floor coatings without sacrificing performance.

    Research has shown that civil engineering coatings formulated with Anquamine 701 curing agent have exceptionally high permeability—100 times greater than typical cycloaliphatic-based systems. In addition, it can be formulated with high-film thickness, zero VOC, and without emulsifiers.

    Anquamine 701 curing agent also provides very fast film drying, excellent adhesion to a wide range of substrates, low viscosity, very low free-amine content, very good early water resistance, good low-temperature cure, and the ability to formulate low-cost systems based on high filler levels.
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  • With the advent of the new AIM regulations under the Clean Air Act, how can I formulate a low-VOC polyamide-based epoxy coating without losing performance or adding cost to my system?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    AIM regulations set specific VOC content limits for a broad range of architectural and industrial maintenance coatings. To reduce VOCs of polyamide-based epoxy coatings, formulators typically rely on lower viscosity curing agents, diluents, and plasticizers. However, each approach has its disadvantages.

    Coatings based on lower viscosity curing agents and additives suffer from slower dry times relative to higher viscosity polyamides. They also have a higher tendency to form amine blush and can be less flexible. Plasticized polyamide adducts provide limited VOC reduction at increased cost.

    Air Products' new Ancamide® 805 curing agent offers a cost-effective alternative to other low-VOC options while maintaining performance.

    This novel technology is a plasticizer-free, 100% reactive polyamide that offers low viscosity, high equivalent weight, and fast dry speed along with good flexibility and film appearance. This allows you to formulate lower VOC epoxy coatings without a loss of performance or an increase in cost. In addition, Ancamide 805 curing agents' lower viscosity allows you to increase filler loading and reduce system cost while maintaining VOC compliance and performance.
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  • Can water-based coating systems really perform on metal substrates?
    Charlie Hegedus
    Research Associate

    Recently, starting water-based primer and water-based topcoat formulations were applied to steel substrates, with performance properties compared to those of a fully formulated, commercially available industrial maintenance coating system.

    The results revealed that the waterborne coatings systems developed using novel Air Products water-based technologies perform as well as or better than their solventborne counterparts in important performance areas—including accelerated weathering, corrosion protection, impact, hardness, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance.

    These outstanding performance results were achieved using a 4:1 anticorrosive primer formulated with Air Products' Anquamine® 456 epoxy curing agent and a liquid epoxy resin, with a topcoat formulation based on the company's novel Adura™ 100 polyol. These high-value-added coatings not only deliver on performance, but do so at a reasonable cost. They are just what you need to meet the demanding performance requirements for industrial coatings in the 21st century.
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  • Could you recommend an epoxy resin for formulating a 2K, ambient-cure, zero-VOC, waterborne anti-corrosive primer that dries fast, has good corrosion performance, and is cost-effective?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    Traditionally, formulators of 2K, waterborne primers had to choose between low VOC and fast dry speed, a result of conventional waterborne resin limitations. Additionally, performance properties, including corrosion resistance and flexibility, were often not achieved.

    Ancarez™ AR550 waterborne epoxy resin is highly recommended for formulating 2K, zero-VOC, waterborne epoxy primer coatings for metal substrates. This product—a dispersion delivered at 55% solids in water—offers performance characteristics equal or superior to coatings based on traditional solid epoxy resin dispersions, however, at zero-VOC and lower cost-in-use. Systems incorporating Ancarez AR550 resin and Anquamine® 401 curing agent yield enhanced set-to-touch dry times, early rain resistance, increased salt spray resistance and have shown increased compatibility with universal colorants.
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  • How can I formulate a low-cost, water-based concrete floor sealer that is easy to handle and has quick recoatability?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    Traditionally, formulators of water-based coatings for concrete had to choose between cost and performance, a function of available resin technology.

    Ancarez™ AR550 resin is highly recommended for formulating water-based, ambient-cure coatings for concrete. This product—a dispersion delivered at 55% solids in water—offers handling and performance characteristics equal or superior to coatings based on existing epoxy resin dispersions technology. Product advantages include long pot life, fast dry speed, low resin viscosity, no induction time and quick recoatability, all at a lower cost in use and zero VOC. Ancarez AR550 resin can be cured with Anquamine® 401 curing agent for optimized performance.
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  • How can I formulate a low-viscosity epoxy flooring system with fast cure for a quick return to service while still giving applicators reasonable working time?
    William R. Dougherty William R. Dougherty
    Senior Principal Applications Chemist

    Traditionally, formulators of epoxy flooring systems have had to choose between fast cure and a long working life, a result of traditional curing agent limitations. Additionally, the need for fast cure often has resulted in a sacrifice of final system appearance and performance properties.

    Ancamine® 2489 curing agent can be used to formulate epoxy flooring and coating systems that have both rapid cure and a long working life, when compared to conventional fast cure hardeners. It gives fast hardness development, even at low temperatures, which allows flooring projects to be completed and returned to service quickly. This product is a low-color, cycloaliphatic amine adduct that imparts very low mixed viscosity in epoxy systems, reducing the need for diluents, improving handling properties, and/or allowing higher filler loading. Ancamine 2489 also offers lower cost in use and yields formulations with very good resistance to amine blush and waterspotting.
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  • Can I design a low-cost, two-component waterborne epoxy coating that still maintains excellent performance on steel?

    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    Higher performance waterborne epoxy coatings have traditionally been offered at a cost premium, a result of the waterborne epoxy curing agent and the specialty resins and/or resin dispersions which are necessary to make the system perform. In order to achieve costs comparable to solvent-based epoxy coatings, a system based on standard epoxy resins and a curing agent designed for use with those resins is needed.

    Anquamine® 456 curing agent can be used to formulate low-cost, two-component waterborne coatings that perform like solvent-based systems. This product is a self-emulsifying, non-ionically stabilized amine which offers the following benefits:

    • It can be used with standard liquid resins and optionally modified with solid or flexibilized resins.
    • Cost-in-use is competitive with solvent-based products, and much lower than traditional high-performance waterborne systems.
    • Coatings made with Anquamine 456 offer high corrosion and chemical resistance, excellent wet adhesion, low odor and easy cleanup.
    • It is recommended for industrial maintenance, marine, general metal and institutional coatings.
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  • How can I formulate two-component polyamide-based epoxy coatings to lower solvent content without losing performance or adding cost to my system?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    To reduce VOCs of polyamide-based epoxy coatings, formulators typically rely on lower viscosity polyamides, amidoamines, reactive diluents or plasticized polyamide adducts. Each of these routes has disadvantages.

    Coatings based on lower viscosity polyamides, amidoamines and/or reactive diluents suffer from slower dry times relative to higher viscosity polyamides. They also have a higher tendency to form amine blush and can be less flexible.

    Plasticized polyamide adducts can also suffer from amine blush, although generally to a lesser degree. Plasticizers, such as benzyl alcohol, contribute to VOC levels. This route typically adds cost to the formulated coating.

    Novel polyamide products, Ancamide® 801 and Ancamide 802 curing agents, offer a cost-effective alternative to other lower VOC options while maintaining performance.

    These robust products are plasticizer-free, 100% reactive polyamides that offer the unique combination of reduced viscosity and high equivalent weight. They allow you to formulate to lower VOC levels without a loss in performance or an increase in cost. In addition, because they are lower viscosity, you can optimize filler loading to reduce system cost while maintaining your VOC compliance and performance.
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  • The performance of my solvent-borne epoxy curative seems to deteriorate quickly over time. What is the problem?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    If you are formulating with amine-based curatives, then solvent selection could be the issue. Epoxy curing agents undergo side reactions with a variety of solvents and plasticizers that can tie up the curing agent's active hydrogens so they cannot react with epoxy groups.

    These reactions occur slowly enough that a freshly made paint has good reactivity and performs acceptably. Versus standard polyamides, high solids curing agents, like Ancamide® 2353 and Ancamine® 2143, are more likely to be influenced by solvent selection.

    Ester solvents, such as PM acetate, and phthalate ester plasticizers, such as dibutyl phthalate, react with amines forming amides and releasing alcohol. Ketones, like MIBK, react with amines forming ketimines and releasing water. Water contamination in polyamide curing agents will hydrolyze imidazoline rings increasing the viscosity, decreasing the pot life, and reducing wetting.

    Package ester and ketone solvents with the epoxy resin to improve your storage stability. Store all raw materials in tightly sealed containers to avoid water contamination.
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  • How can I get faster cure at low temperatures in my epoxy coating system?
    David Dubowik David Dubowik
    Principal Applications Chemist

    Low-temperature cure depends on proper curing agent, accelerator, and epoxy diluent selection. Therefore, consider the following:

    • Select a low-blush curing agent with good low-temperature reactivity. Curing agents, such as Ancamine® 2143, 1856, 2432 and 2089M, have very accessible amine groups and make it easier for epoxies to react with at low temperatures. Avoid high-blush amines and slow reacting amines, such as amidoamines and polyamides.
    • Accelerators, such as Ancamine K.54, when used at moderate levels (5 phr), will improve dry time and hardness development without compromising properties.
    • Systems with lower glass transition temperatures (Tg) react more completely than systems with higher Tgs. Epoxy diluents will lower the Tg and allow the system to cure before it loses mobility. Diluents, such as Epodil® 742, 749 and 750, are preferred due to their fast reactivity. Because diluents reduce physical strength properties, they should be used judiciously.
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