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Waterborne technology: its greatest limitation is your imagination

SpecialChem / Jun 13, 2007

Waterborne paints have a long and successful history in certain niche applications (see this month's editorial), but the twin issues of environmental legislation and the low cost of water as a solvent have encouraged their much wider use. Today's waterborne systems can - in the same way as their early predecessors - offer application and performance advantages over solventborne technology, but now in a much wider range of situations. How have paintmakers dealt with the problems inherent in waterborne technology? Are these limitations fundamental and unavoidable - or are 'fundamental limits' mainly created by a lack of imagination? This column attempts to answer these questions, while the accompanying editorial looks at market statistics and the (very) early history of waterborne coatings. Some problems have been regarded as inevitable when using waterborne coatings - but some which appeared to be insoluble turn out not to be. So what are the prospects for breaking out of these supposed boundaries?

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