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Materials & Assembly

Coatings Stand Up to Harsh Environments

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2014 4:53:21 PM
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Thanks for the specific example, Cabe. Is that the town that's often used as a poster child for the effects of chemicals on the human recyclers?

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
Cabe Atwell   3/26/2014 4:38:24 PM
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A lot of electronic recycling is done in Guiyu, China. Just look at what unregulated chemical disposal has done for that town.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
Ann R. Thryft   3/17/2014 1:22:59 PM
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William, good point about the chromates' stability, or rather lack thereof. As to the pollution potential of electronics, it's huge, and that's what's behind a lot of the environmental legislation for their recycling--which isn't responsible unless legislated it seems--as well as legislation such as REACH and ROHS.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
Ann R. Thryft   3/17/2014 1:11:23 PM
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William, your mention of the aluminum house makes me think of steel frames used in residential buildings. I've heard of that but can't remember where it was done. Of course, all of these materials are rigid and, living in earthquake country, I'm well aware of the value of the wood frame building, like the one I live in. OTOH, that's residential and the industrial coatings I wrote about are for big structures like bridges and highway overpasses, or oil. & gas rigs. At least stone wouldn't require the coatings that concrete and metals do.

William K.
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
William K.   3/14/2014 9:01:07 PM
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Ann, you are certainly correct about the durability of stone. I saw farmhouses in England that were 200 years old and still in use, looking to be in good condition. And I recently read some AUDEL book about building houses, which is interesting in that if houses were build that well today they would last a long time, but who could afford to buy one. And then I just saw at the Ford Museum The Buckminster Fuller all aluminum house, which it was claimed would be "quite wonderful". But there was only one built and lived in. It would have possibly been more ecologicly sound, and certainly would not have needd so many preservatives as our current houses, but it not be anything that I would wish to live in and pay for heating or cooling.

And while those chromate chemicals may be toxic, the bigger question is how stable are they, how well bonded and immovable are they? Just like asbestos, which can be embedded in a structure and not be a hazard, some preservatives are well bound and stay that way. And consider lead solder in electronics. Just a bit of responsible recycling and any potential hazard would not exist. Instead we have all kinds of new failure modes in electronic toys that fail much sooner than the older more reliable versions.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
Ann R. Thryft   3/14/2014 12:30:24 PM
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William, there's been lots of perfectly good info showing how damaging chromates can be to the environment; which, BTW, includes people and animals, as well as plants.
That said, and being a materials editor, it's also disheartening to me to find that the tough yet poisonous chemicals are not easily replaced by more benign substitutes. Perhaps not replaceable at all. I've seen this in my own household, where the kind of wood treatment that really protects against rot and bugs (copper naphthenates) simply can't be used without poisoning nearby water sources. I live next to a creek so am especially aware of that one.
Anyway, this seems to be a general principle. So perhaps we should adjust our expectations of how long things can last--or find better materials to build them out of. Stone, for example--look how long the megaliths have lasted when left alone. We used to build bridges out of stone. Yes it's expensive--but how much more so than the cost of damage caused by chemicals used to make cheaper, less long-lasting materials last?

William K.
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Re: Coatings doing a lot of work
William K.   3/13/2014 10:21:31 AM
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It is certain that prevention of corrosion is vital to the preservation of a lot of our infrastructure, both from a safety concern and the concern about replacment or repair costs. So it is rather disheartening to see that in the more fearful sections of the world they are mandating the discontinuing of some of the more effective corrosion prevention chemicals. Perhaps an adequate substitute can be found, but it certainly seems that the decision to ban the use of chromates is driven primarily by fear, rather than actual information.

But there is no good reason that we here in the USA need to be chained by the fears of others, although we do need to follow thse rules for products to be sold in those countries. So it may be a better choice to have two classes of materials, one class being the more durable, for domestic use only, and an export class of materials to comply with those rules found elsewhere. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Coatings doing a lot of work
Ann R. Thryft   3/5/2014 6:12:36 PM
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The world of coatings doesn't change very fast, but these days they're being asked to make up for changes occurring elsewhere in the design & manufacturing chain. I found it interesting that big structures like bridges and highway overpasses are expected to last longer than they once did, with the help of heavy-duty coating materials and formulations.

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