December 1, 2007 Chemists have added polymers to a new paint that dries faster and requires no second coat or primer. The paint uses long polymer chains to surround pigments, which makes it easier for latex spheres to bond to it. That advance makes the color cover the wall more completely. Additionally, this technique means that the paint requires almost zero volatile organic compounds, which contribute to odor and also smog.
Planning a paint job but hate the dreadful smell? Thanks to chemists, there is a new paint that promises no stink! And the benefits don't stop there; it's also environmentally friendly and dries fast.
"Aura meets the most strict VOC rules in the United States. The benefit is, it's much lower odor," Carl Minchew of Benjamin Moore said.
VOCs pollute indoor air quality and the environment. While the new aura paint is "green," what really sets it apart is the reds and blues.
"We didn’t just make the new paint. We made all new colorants," Minchew said.
With traditional paint, when you ask for a specific color, they mix base paint with a generic colorant. But aura comes with its own colorant, and requires a special mixer. That's because instead of the color just sticking to the binder particles, aura's colors are embedded into the paint, locking in a richer color that’s harder to rub off.
Aura's chemistry also makes the paint thicker, so you don’t need to prime sheetrock, and it dries faster. And aura hides better. With regular paint, one coat doesn’t hide a pre-existing grey stripe on the wall. But one coat of aura does much better.
Aura isn’t cheap at fifty-five dollars at gallon, but its makers say the time you’ll save is priceless.
BACKGROUND: Benjamin Moore’s new Aura interior paint doesn’t require a primer, and the paint doesn’t stick, thanks to innovative chemistry: a new way to combine latex and paint. The secret is a new “copolymer surfactant" molecule that binds the color into a thicker, more durable paint. The new paint molecules are long chains that surround pigment molecules, much like a strip of Velcro wrapped around a tennis ball, which provides more space for the latex to cling to. As a result, the paint covers any color in a single coat, leaves a washable finish, and dries in hours.
ALL ABOUT PAINT: The technical definition of paint is any liquid substance that converts into an opaque solid film after being applied to a surface in a thin layer. We think of paint as being used for decorative purposes, such as adding color to the walls and trim in a room. But paint can also be used to protect a surface, such using it to slow the corrosion process of metal. It can also have added functions, such as improving the light reflection or heat radiation of a surface. Paint has three primary components: pigments (for color), binder, and a “vehicle,” also called solvent. The solvent is critical to determining the thickness and flow of the paint. The solvent also serves as a carrier for the binder and pigments. Many paints also contain surfactants: agents that allow more space between the molecules of a liquid. This means it can be more easily spread onto a surface. Extra additives can also give the liquid properties like antifreeze, long-lasting color, or antimicrobial capability.
CHAIN-LINK MOLECULES: Polymers are large molecules made up of long repeating chemical units joined together in a chain, like beads on a string. They are the largest and most diverse class of molecules, usually containing billions of atoms. Human DNA is a polymer, with more than 20 billion atoms. So are proteins, or the polymers of amino acids, and solid plastics used in a broad range of consumer products. Monomers are smaller molecules so reactive that they bond readily with other monomers in a process called polymerization, but they don’t always link together in straight chains of regularly repeating monomers. Secondary molecules called catalysts can coax monomers to link together in certain configurations, and also speed up reaction times. This is how most synthetic polymers are created.
The Materials Research Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.