Market demands on pigments are forever increasing with the actual color of the pigment no longer the only criteria for selection. Pigments over recent years have become more and more versatile and complex, as they are developed to meet an array of traditional functional properties, such as high-weatherfastness/lightfastness, durability, chemical resistance, thermal resistance and wide compatibility, as well as meeting the increasing demands for eco-friendly products.
These required functions and properties often limit the choice of pigment chemistry and result in a shift away from the cheapest available option towards inorganic technology and a differentiated high-performance product. Rockwood Pigments is meeting market demands for functional pigments.
The environmental benefit of Cool Colors is becoming a key-purchasing requirement from consumers and retailers alike; as a direct result, coatings and plastics manufacturers are adopting cool technology in order to deliver corporate environmental objectives.
The use of functional pigments in protective coatings is not a new concept. For many years, iron oxide pigments have been used to absorb UV rays for the protection of wood, but it is the area of infra-red reflectance where today’s interest lies as energy saving initiatives are evolving in the construction, architectural and automotive sectors. In the United States, reflective coatings make up 50% of the $750 million roof coating market. Experience has shown that real energy savings of 20-70% are possible when replacing an asphalt roof; for example, Cool Color technology was used on the roof of the Utah Olympic Stadium.
Plastics pigmented with Cool Colors show reduced warping when used in applications such as vinyl sidings on houses, or architectural profile applications, such as window frames and guttering. Other applications include exterior clothing for motorcyclists and the interior trim of cars, which can get very hot when parked in direct sunlight.
More specialty applications, such as liners for landfill sites and ponds, are also of importance, where plastic is often welded and excessive heat causes premature degradation.
Although this is an area yet to be fully realized, Cool Colors have the potential to extend the service life of plastic materials, as well as improving on the cooling effect of coatings.
Key environmental benefits that have a direct impact include the following:
- low air-conditioning costs due to the “Cool House Effect”;
- lower peak electricity/energy demand;
- extended service life (roofs/sidings/drives, etc.);
- less landfill (extended service life); and
- regulatory compliance to new environmental standards (USA Energy Star).
Rockwood Pigments offers the Reflect™ range for this demanding application. Reflect™ is a range a of colored high-performance inorganic pigments selected to maximize infrared reflectivity.
For more information on Rockwood Pigments, visit www.rockwoodpigments.com.