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New Cool Roof Coating Shows Promise

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee say they’ve developed a reflective coating that could change the game in the world of cool roof coatings.

The team of researchers, led by Georgios Polyzos and working in partnership with The Dow Chemical Company, say their new formulation combines reflectivity, water resistance and durability in a way that has yet to be achieved in the cool roof coatings market.

Up-close view of cool roof coating
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Researchers have developed a superhydrophobic, anti-biofouling white roof coating using superhydrophobic particulates based on silica.

The formulation has yet to be turned into a commercially viable product, but that’s in the works, according to a paper prepared at Oak Ridge earlier this spring, and announced last week by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Reflective and Water-Resistant

The Oak Ridge team notes in its paper that recent developments in cool roofs have involved polymer coatings that are highly reflective and resistant to soiling, but don’t perform so well in terms of water resistance. Without long-term water resistance, a roof, of course, will not last.

Through development at Oak Ridge and testing at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the authors say they developed a superhydrophobic, anti-biofouling white roof coating using superhydrophobic particulates based on silica.

The Numbers

The top performing formulation in the trials exhibited an initial 0.778 solar reflectance and 167 degree water contact angle; the California Energy Commission’s standard for a cool roof is a solar reflectance of at least 0.70.

In tests at Lawrence Berkeley that simulated three-year weathering, the solar reflectance showed only 3.3 percent loss, and the water contact angle was only reduced by 4.9 percent. The coating is currently undergoing further testing at the lab.

Not Ready for Market

There are a few barriers to marketability right now, lab representatives say: Dow is working on determining how to better disperse the particles into polymer matrices, and so far, the formulations have been solvent-based. In order to make a commercially viable product, the researchers hope to find a way to incorporate the particles into a waterborne coating.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coatings Technology; Cool roof coatings; Dow Chemical Company; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; North America; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Research and development; Roof coatings; Solar reflectance; Water repellents

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