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Singing the Praises of Coatings


By Harold Hower

At the risk of sounding parochial, or self-promotional, I want to sing the praises of coatings, especially in regard to their capability to extend the functionality of other materials.

Consider, simply, steel. Offshore platforms melt into the sea; bridges fail from corrosion and fall down if not protected by coatings.

Consider wood in atmospheric service. It rots, if not protected by coatings or other treatments.

At the same time they protect, they also beautify, so coatings can easily be seen as 2-dimensional. But 3-dimensional in their functionality? Of course.

Consider, for instance, a coating on a wall built with concrete masonry units in a warm climate. Coatings can make this wall esthetically palatable, when otherwise it might look like the wall of a prison.

Consider also that as weather barriers, concrete blocks are relatively porous and subject to ingress by wind-driven rain. So the coating on the block improves its function as a barrier.

Consider, also, that the coating can be formulated to have good solar reflectance and emittance; it can therefore improve the energy-efficiency of the wall by a substantial amount, depending on the climate.

And we could go on with more functions for the coating. Suppose it were made self-cleaning, that is, resistant to dirt pick-up, which can be readily accomplished. And suppose . . . .

The idea here is to consider all the possibilities of function; to extend functionality; and for most of the readers of this blog, to take advantage of the multi-dimensionality of coatings.


Harold Hower

Harold Hower, CEO and founder of Technology Publishing Company, likes to think about ways of improving conditions in the architectural coatings industry.



Tagged categories: Coating selection; Exposure conditions; Specialty functions

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