Bright Prospects for Durable Paintwork - Wacker Chemie AG

Bright Prospects for Durable Paintwork

A novel WACKER dispersion for exterior paints combines the unique properties of organic and mineral components: the high pigment stability of PRIMIS® AF 1000 makes for richly colored facades that retain their brilliance for an unusually long time, are slow to fade and absorb little dirt.

Coated test panels are exposed to the elements for months or even years at the Burghausen plant’s open-air weathering facility. At regular intervals, WACKER technicians measure how well the various shades of color withstand rain and sun.

With the tremendous success of the Bauhaus style in the 20th century, there was a retreat from the use of color in architecture initially. Modernism came to be synonymous with purism – and that meant white. The roughly 4000 “International Style” buildings that have gone up in Tel Aviv since the 1930s, for example, have been tellingly dubbed the “White City” and have been registered as such on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

But white has not always been this dominant: even the temples, palaces, gods and human images of the ancient Greeks were multicolored – adorned with bright pigments such as vermilion red, cobalt blue and malachite green. Yet only traces of these vivid colors have survived the ravages of time, which is why the buildings and sculptures of Greece appear to have only ever had bare, unpainted surfaces of natural limestone and marble.

With the rise of postmodern architecture in the 1980s, however, more and more architects have found the courage to explore bright colors. “Color has made a comeback in architectural design over the past few decades,” explains Juan Serra of the Universitat Politècnica de València, who has conducted and published a great deal of research on the use of color in architecture.

Their colors and surface texture are what turn exterior coatings into a design element, defining the look both of individual buildings and of entire regions. When we think of Sweden, for example, most of us picture red wooden buildings, while the baroque structures of Central Europe stand out in bright pastels, and the old quarters of Paris are adorned with sandy, champagne-colored plasters.

In addition to their appearance, however, exterior coatings also have a practical side, protecting buildings from external influences such as cold, rain, ice and UV radiation. WACKER has developed a new binder designed to make brilliant colors last: “Our new PRIMIS® AF 1000 dispersion effectively stabilizes coating pigments to produce a facade that will remain intact and attractive for a long time to come,” says Dr. Markus Busold, global market manager for coatings at WACKER POLYMERS.

“Color has made a comeback in architectural design over the past few decades.”

Juan Serra Universitat Politècnica de València
  • The first step in testing the color fastness of PRIMIS® AF 100 is to prime the test panels in the applications lab in Burghausen.

  • One test panel is then given a coat of paint based on PRIMIS® AF 100. A second test panel is coated with a commercially available alternative product.

  • A lab assistant then inserts the coated test panels into metallic test specimens. The number 1000 indicates artificial weathering that corresponds to 1000 hours of exposure to the elements.

  • Lab staff use what is known as a QUV tester to simulate accelerated weathering: for this purpose, the test materials are exposed to alternating cycles of UV light and moisture at high and low temperatures.