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MUNICH, Germany - Researchers have developed a coating technique that they plan to use to protect turbine engine and waste incinerator components against heat and oxidation. A topcoat from micro-scaled hollow aluminum oxide spheres provides heat insulation, in the lab, already proved more economical than conventional techniques.

Gases don’t conduct heat as well as solids do. Cellular or aerated concretes take advantage of this effect, which experts call “gas-phase insulation.” The heat barrier is achieved by air encased in the cavities of the concrete. But gas-phase insulation has far greater potential than keeping our homes warm. It can also be used to protect turbine engine and waste incinerator components when subjected to intense heat. All that is needed is to transfer this effect to a coating that is just a few hundred micrometers thick.

Temperature Differences of Over 400 °C

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal have not only done just that, they’ve also done it in a particularly economical way. They’ve designed a coating that consists of an outer topcoat from conjoined aluminium oxide spheres. “These spheres are hollow and filled with gas,” explains coatings expert Dr. Vladislav Kolarik from the ICT’s Energetic Systems department. When the outer side of a part is exposed to temperatures of 1000 °C, these gas-filled spheres reduce temperatures on the part’s inner side to under 600 °C – as the ICT scientists have demonstrated in their laboratories. Since gas and steam turbines used for energy generation, combustion chambers, waste incinerator generators and temperature sensors, and reactors in the chemical and petrochemical industries are all subjected to temperatures of up to 1000 °C, there is considerable demand of thermal protection.

What’s most remarkable is that the heat-insulating layer from hollow aluminum oxide spheres is obtained on the basis of a conventional, economic process. Operators only have to do some simple math to see the benefits: conventional thermal barrier techniques – most of which are based on ceramic materials – are expensive. The process the scientists adapted was originally designed to protect metallic components from oxidation. “We’ve optimized the technique so that the coat not only retains its oxidation protection, but furthermore protects against heat,” says Dr. Kolarik. The basic coating layer forms by interaction of aluminum particles and the metallic component. This is done by depositing aluminum powder on the surface of the metal and heating it all up to a suitable temperature over several hours. The result is an aluminum-rich coating on the component’s surface that protects against oxidation at high temperature. With the new procedure, the topcoat from the hollow aluminum oxide spheres is additionally formed. “Up to now, it never occurred to anyone to use these spheres to produce another coating layer – they were just a waste product,” says Dr. Kolarik.

Now the scientists have refined the process so they can produce both coating layers in the required thickness. The way it works is to take aluminum particles and mix them with a viscous liquid bonding agent. This produces a substance similar to a paint or slurry, which the scientists then manually paint, spray or brush onto the metallic component. “All that’s left is to add a fair bit of heat,” says Dr. Kolarik. But it’s all easier said than done: Dr. Kolarik and his team have had to precisely fine tune the size and size distribution of the aluminum particles, the temperature and duration of the heating stage, and the viscosity of bonding agents. “Just like a master chef, the first job was to come up with a winning recipe.”

“We’re currently in the process of putting the findings from the EU-funded PARTICOAT project into practice. This involves coating bigger and bigger components without exceeding the temperature limits for each application area. At the same time we’re trying out techniques to automate the whole coating process. Our plan is to follow in the footsteps of the aerated concrete that helps insulate our homes – that’s been in series production for a long time now,” says Dr. Kolarik.

Source: http://www.pcimag.com/articles/99866-a-coating-that-protects-against-heat-and-oxidation

The Diverse Coatings Market in Asia Pacific

By Dan Watson, Managing Director, Blairgowrie Associates LLC


Overview of The Asia Pacific Region

Asia Pacific is an immense region, comprised of dissimilar countries with myriad of cultures, language, religion and politics. This region covers 2.8 billion hectares of land area, or approximately 22 percent of the total global land area. It covers the spectrum of conditions from temperate and boreal through the range of tropical and subtropical zones and back to temperate, from moist tropical to arid and semi-arid desert.

The geographic and social diversity have created enormous challenges to the coating industry. The performance requirements on coating application have huge differences within countries in Asia Pacific region. For instance, in the Southern part of the region (i.e. Australia/New Zealand) the architectural market demands a gloss coating.  In addition, in the ANZ market there is a strong DIY (Do It Yourself) market whereas in most other countries in the region it’s a contractor applied market.

The Asia Pacific region comprised about 62 percent of the total global population (i.e., approximately 4.4 billion). China and India account for more than half of this regions total population. 

The region represents the single largest growth opportunity for the coatings industry.  In 2001 the region represented 27 percent of the global coating market compared to 33 percent for the Americas and 36 percent for Europe.  In 2010 the region represented 40 percent of the coatings market while the Americas share declined to 26 percent and Europe declined to 28 percent.  This trend is expected to continue. The total Asia Pacific region coating market is estimated to be valued at over $62 billion with an annual growth rate estimated at 12-15 percent.

The charts above describe the coating market in Asia Pacific both by segment and by country.

Architectural Coating

Clearly, the largest revenue segment is architectural and the largest revenue coating market resides inside of China. Many of the smaller coating consumers in the region have also undergone significant growth. China accounts for 55 percent of the region’s consumption in volume and 65 percent of the value. India is now the second-largest consumer in tons, with a 13 percent share, and is third in value, with 6 percent. Japan is second in value, comprising 11 percent of the total, but is expected to be displaced by India within the next two years. Korea is the fourth-largest consumer in both volume and value. These four countries took 84 percent of the region’s tons and 85 percent of the value. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam each consumes about 2-3 percent of the regional volume and are considered expanding markets.

Solven-based coatings remain as the largest group of products in the industrial market. But water-based coatings are gaining significant market share in recent years. In 2013 approximately 70 percent of the architectural market was comprised of water-based coatings. This is due to the increasing environmental concerns in the regions

Green Coating

An area of potential growth that cuts across all coating segments in Asia Pacific involves “green coatings” (i.e. environment friendly systems). The green coatings manufacturing companies and research institutions are infusing high investment for the future advancements and technology of environment friendly and nonhazardous coatings. These investments are to create coatings with similar performance as compared to conventional VOC contained coatings. Asia Pacific countries such as China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and others are growing markets for green coatings. Major players in the green coatings industry include the same players that participate in conventional systems.

Decorative Coating

The decorative coating market owes its growth and sustainability to the construction and/or renovation of commercial/residential properties.  Over the past few years there is significant increase construction and renovation activities in China, India, Indonesia, etc.  This has resulted in an increased demand for decorative coatings.  Along with this increased demand has been the need to produce coatings that are more environmentally friendly (i.e. reduction of VOC, removal of lead based pigments, etc.) and provide improved performance characteristics (i.e. resistance to mold growth, dirt and loss of adhesion from various substrates, long term durability, etc. The critical drivers for future growth include a growing ‘middle class’ in key Asia Pacific counties, which has fueled commercial and residential construction. 

The major threats to the future growth of this segment include: increased cost of essential raw materials; continued stagnation or decline in the global market which would negatively impact the growth of the regions ‘middle class.’

Marine Coating

Marine Coatings in Asia Pacific market is expected to witness steady growth owing to the robust development of the shipbuilding and offshore engineering industries that are located in the region. It is estimated that marine coatings represent about 6 percent of the total coatings market in Asia Pacific. Generally speaking, ocean going ships are subject to harsh environments and the constant need for their maintenance and repair will be a significant driver to sustain market demand in the years to come.

An analysis of the Asia Pacific marine coating market finds that the market earned revenues of $4.84 billion in 2012 and industry experts estimates this will reach $6.69 billion in 2016.  However, the rising costs of the raw materials used in these coatings – mostly due to fluctuating crude oil prices as a result of political tensions in the Middle East – have heightened production expenditure and reduced manufacturers’ margins.

The economic slowdown in Europe and North America that has led to a decline in sea trade and curbed marine coating sales has also led to the outsourcing of shipbuilding activities to countries such as China that provide cheap labor. Hence, Asia Pacific’s position as a hotspot for shipbuilding will remain intact, spurring the marine coatings market continued growth in the region.  Although China, South Korea and Japan lead the ship building industry globally (i.e., 80 percnt share of the industry) new shipping hubs are appearing in Vietnam, Philippines and India.  It is clear that Asia Pacific will retain a dominant position in ship building globally.

New innovations in the marine coating segment include glass flake epoxies that improve abrasion resistance; coatings focused on reducing drag which would result in increased fuel efficiency and more environmentally friendly systems (i.e., less toxic anti-fouling systems).

Protective Coating

Protective coatings account for 12-14 percent of the total Asia Pacific coating market.  China holds a resounding 78 percent market share in this particular segment.  This trend is expected to continue for many years to come as this segment is tied closely with infrastructure investment and China is expected to see 40 percent of future global infrastructure investment.  The projected high growth of industrial segments like energy and power, oil and gas and general manufacturing industries will ensue the continued growth of this segment.

Automotive Coating

Firmly on its mark with economic and environmental trends, the global automotive coatings industry is set to grow.  Industry experts have projected that the automotive OEM coating market will grow from $8.7 billion in 2013 to $11.7 billion by 2018.  Of course, this projection assumes a gradual improvement in the global economy.  The highest demand this year should come from China, the United States, Japan, Germany, India and South Korea. The highest five-year growth rate is expected in South Korea, India, the U.S., China, the UK and Mexico. 

Changing demands in automobile and coatings technology, auto markets and regional economies have forced the auto paint industry to evolve. Today, it is aligned with environmental, technology, health and safety, and economic trends that will drive solid growth through 2018. 

Global automakers turned out 63 million passenger cars, 16.9 million light commercial vehicles and 4.1 million heavy commercial vehicles in 2012. The Asia Oceania (Central and South Pacific) region is now the world’s largest automotive coatings market, with the highest revenues and regional compound annual growth rate (CAGR) estimated at 7.85 percent for the next five years.  China leads this segment but other Asia Pacific countries are expected to show significant growth over the next few years. Asia Oceania produces more vehicles than any other region – more than 47.2 million this past year alone, making it the most important market for the automotive coating industry.

In Conclusion

The immediate focus for coating producers in the Asia Pacific will be to construct more cost competitive, environment friendly systems across all coatings segments that also offer performance such as heat resistance, dirt and mold resistance and improved adhesion to a variety of substrates. Looking ahead, the Asia Pacific coatings market will require smart coatings – a coating that changes its properties in response to an environmental stimulus, sustainable coatings – products that protect the environment without sacrificing overall coatings performance and high performance coatings – coatings to make airplanes lighter, buildings cooler, cargo ships more fuel efficient, and wind turbines smoother and more aerodynamic.  The Asia Pacific coatings market is no longer regarded as a low cost, low performance expectation market. It has truly become a dynamic force and leader in the total global coatings market.

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