Road striping is an essential safety measure that helps keep drivers on track across thousands of kilometers of roadway throughout Europe. According to a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by Dow Coating Materials, replacing standard traffic paint with water-borne alternatives could yield a reduction of more than 80% in VOCs emitted from annual road striping applications.
Details of the LCA, including potential impacts on the environment, will be highlighted at the Dow Exhibition Stand at the European Coatings Show in Nurnberg, Germany, March 19-21, 2013.
“Life cycle assessments are a useful tool to help keep us on track in our energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint,” said Dominique Martin, Customer Solutions Manager, Dow Coating Materials. “By paying attention to every step of the paint making process, monitoring what goes into paint and what comes out of it, we can equip the industry with more knowledge for better decision making when it comes to choosing sustainable options for coating our roads and highways.”
The LCA, conducted in accordance with international standards and validated by a qualified third party, calls out the opportunity to reduce environmental footprint by replacing solvent-borne traffic paints with water-borne acrylic paints that offer equal or better performance but with less of the VOCs associated with solvent-borne products.
While the architectural coatings industry has embraced water-borne coatings, solvent-borne paints still predominate in the traffic industry in Europe partly due to the unique challenges of road striping, noted Martin. Without solvent, conventional paint can be slow to dry, creating streaks and/or staining vehicles as they drive over newly applied lines. In worst case scenarios, stripes can wash out when rain falls before the paint completely sets.
“With FASTRACKTM Water-borne Polymer Technology, Dow developed a patented quick-dry technology that facilitates the formulation of water-borne traffic paints that retain and even improve upon the performance properties that are essential to road striping,” said Martin.
Extensive road marking tests and field trials demonstrate that traffic paints formulated with FASTRACK Polymers offer outstanding durability and toughness, excellent adhesion to various road surfaces and rapid drying. These properties facilitate quick and easy application, long-lasting performance and, as demonstrated by the Life Cycle Assessment, the potential to reduce carbon footprint by 25 to 60%. In total, FASTRACK Systems were shown to reduce road striping’s impact potential in 10 out of 10 categories, including VOC emissions, human toxicity and chemical oxygen demand.
FASTRACK Technologies examined in the LCA include:
FASTRACK 2011 High Efficiency Binder Technology: a binder based on patented polymer technology that facilitates economical traffic paint formulations with very good drying time, durability and overall roadway performance. High Efficiency Technology also offers paint formulators the ability to use less TiO2 and latex, two key but energy intensive raw materials in traffic paint, while still maintaining key performance properties like visibility.
FASTRACK HD-21A High Durability Binder Technology: a binder based on patented technology that facilitates high-durability traffic paint formulations with long maintenance intervals, similar to those of durable systems such as thermoplastic or cold plastic.
“With efficiencies and durability gained from FASTRACK Technology, the traffic paint industry can rely on high-performance road-marking paint with a better sustainability profile,” said Martin. “Whether it’s the notable decrease in VOCs made possible by switching to water-borne technology, or the ability to use less raw materials like TiO2 and latex by making them work more efficiently in formulations, FASTRACK Technology is making it possible for the industry to achieve immediate gains in sustainability without sacrificing performance.”
To learn more about the LCA and the sustainability benefits of water-borne paints for road markings, visit www.dow.com/fastrack.