Since the first pictures of bison, horses, and deer appeared on paleolithic cave walls nearly 40,000 years ago, paint has played a vital role in the decoration and protection of buildings and monuments around the world.

Polymer additives enhance paints

The inclusion of specially designed polymers can endow a product with novel features. Polymers can be formed via a radical polymerization reaction where free radicals are created on pre-polymer monomers, using separate initiator molecules. A polymer chain builds through the rapid addition of monomers at these free radical sites, termination bringing such reactions to a halt.

The objective for novel polymer based paints is to design them to optimize their rheological properties and make them less odorous and longer lasting than existing paint formulations. As an example of what can be achieved , it has even been possible to develop car paints that, when scratched, can be healed by exposure to intense ultra-violet light.

A team led by Professor Timothy McKenna, at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, has been studying how to optimize polymerization conditions for the production of specially tailored materials with applications in the paint industry, using the Viscotek TDAmax GPC system. Professor McKenna’s team hopes to control the free radical polymerization reactions to achieve the desired characteristics, for applications for the polymer additives used in paints and glues.

Who knows? It might result in paints that last as long as those used in Egyptian paintings. Mixed with a gummy substance, they are as vibrant today as they were 2000 years ago!