Alkyd resins have been used widely in paints designed for durability and high performance. These paints, applied to high-traffic-area surfaces such as doors, trim and cabinets have been an excellent performance choice; however, conventional alkyd paints have been solvent-based. The regulatory shift toward lower VOC levels has moved consumer preferences away from solvent-based alkyds to other low-VOC options, including water-based and high solids paints such as acrylics, latex and polyurethanes.
Recently, there has been renewed interest in alkyd technologies as environmental concerns have shifted and resin manufacturers strove to use bio-renewable resources. Alkyd resin manufacturers have found low-VOC options using higher solids resins (requiring less solvent) and water-based or water-reducible resins. One obstacle faced when using these new technologies was keeping the same drying characteristics of the conventional paint. Conventional solvent systems had excellent drying characteristics; with the new low-VOC options, typical paint driers based on metallic salts such as cobalt, zirconium and calcium did not provide the required cure. It was difficult for alkyds to compete against acrylic and latex options in the market.
This article highlights a new cobalt-free catalyst that helps to achieve the necessary cure time as well as improve properties associated with water-based, high solids alkyds and alkyd-modified resins. The catalyst provides the missing piece in new, low-VOC alkyd formulations, and kills two birds with one stone by curing the coating without the use of cobalt. Alkyd resins offer excellent performance in the decorative and light-end industrial paint markets, are cost effective and can be derived from renewable resources. With the introduction of this new catalyst, alkyd resins can now better meet the demands of today’s market.