Soybeans don’t always get a lot of recognition; they are masters of blending in with most any product they are added to, often improving sustainability and environmental stewardship without sacrificing performance. Recently, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff program partnered with Reichhold – a leading global supplier of resin polymers for paints and coatings – to research two new ways to incorporate soy into their resins targeted for specific end-use applications. The first project is a high performance water-borne oil modified urethane for residential and commercial hardwood floors; the second is an alkyd latex for water-borne stain blocking primers.
“Soybean oil is something that Reichhold has traditionally used over the years to manufacture many of our resins that require a balance of performance and economics, and it is a building block for many of our chemistries. The self-crosslinking of the soybean oil in the cured film provides improved performance properties through a molecular weight increase,” said Scott Cooley, North American Coatings Technology Director at Reichhold. Soybean oil also assists with flow, leveling and adhesion that are essential qualities for any coating.
Reichhold’s developmental efforts that are focused on a soy-based water-borne oil modified urethane are contrary to the customary solvent-borne offerings that have been heavily used in the wood flooring market. “Solvent-borne oil modified urethanes are the dominant product used in the wood flooring market, but there is a market need for better water-borne oil modified urethanes,” said Cooley. “The existing oil modified water-borne urethane products are low solids and thus require multiple coats, which in turn increases the amount of time needed by contractors to achieve the desired finished film thickness.”
Reichhold’s novel high solids water-borne oil modified urethane approach allows for the coating to be applied at a higher film thickness while performing more consistently like a solvent-borne product. Currently the resin is in beta testing at select end use customers to verify these improvements. Reichhold is confident in this new approach and its ability to meet the latest environmental regulations and performance targets, and if testing goes as anticipated, then this water based oil modified urethane will help maintain soy’s place in the wood flooring market as preferences change from solvent-borne to water-borne products.
The second project, development of an alkyd latex for water-borne stain blocking primers, is still in the early phases of research and development with team members looking at the best technology approach. Stain blocking primers are frequently used to cover stains resulting from water and smoke damage or other hard to cover stains commonly found in older homes. The best performing stain blocking primers currently available are solvent-borne systems that are high VOC and also high odor.
According to Cooley, current water-borne stain blocking primer options in the market do not work very well since many of the stains are water soluble which allows the stain to resurface in the top-coat. Reichhold’s goal is to develop a resin that satisfies customers who are seeking a high performing product with low VOC and low odor. This will require a brand new technology that doesn’t exist in the industry today, but their researchers are working diligently to meet the challenge.
“Many solvent-borne systems have soybean oil in them already, and as we develop a new alkyd latex resin for water-borne stain blocking primers we plan to incorporate soybean oil to maintain the self-crosslinking properties”, said Cooley.