The Chemistry of Waterborne Polyurethane Coatings

| March 5, 2020

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Polyurethanes have long been known to produce coatings that exhibit high toughness, abrasion resistance, enhanced aesthetics, and durability.  Solvent-based polyurethanes have traditionally set the performance standard for high durability coatings. However, environmental considerations for low-VOC alternatives and reduced exposure to solvents has stimulated the development of alternative technologies based on waterborne polyurethane systems.

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OTHER ARTICLES

Improving 3D Chemical Visualization of Subsurface Structures

Article | February 19, 2020

A Raman microscope combines a Raman spectrograph and a light microscope to gain chemical and structural information from materials down to the micron scale. Raman spectroscopy observes when the wavelength of light changes as it interacts with a molecule. The different wavelengths seen in Raman scattering can identify and study vibrational, rotational, and bending forces within chemical bonds of a molecule.

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The Trump EPA’s “Working Approach” to new chemical reviews is only working for the chemical industry

Article | February 19, 2020

The Trump EPA has worked very hard to render this long-awaited update of its approach to reviewing new chemicals under TSCA an empty exercise. Despite Administrator Wheeler’s promises in January 2019 to the contrary: EPA has still failed to provide any legal or scientific justification for its Working Approach. EPA provided no actual response to the many detailed comments it received on its 2017 framework, instead issuing a 1.5-page document that dismisses many of the comments merely as having “stemmed from a misunderstanding of the Agency’s intent.”

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Petrochemical buyers, after a very difficult pandemic, can gain from China-driven deflation

Article | February 19, 2020

BUYERS OF polypropylene (PP) and other polymers and petrochemicals have had an incredibly difficult pandemic. Firstly, the converters and brand owners expected doom and gloom last March. At the time it seemed logical to expect a cratering of demand as the global economy pretty much imploded. Just looking at forecasts for GDP, parallels were drawn with the Global Financial Crisis when collapses in growth led to a cratering of polymers demand. The US is a good example where PP demand declined by 12% in 2008 over 2007. Demand then fell by a further 5% in 2009 over 2008.But what we all missed was the complete dislocation of polymers and petrochemicals demand from GDP. As economies registered historic declines, consumption went up. PP demand went through the roof, firstly for food packaging and hygiene applications.Then consumption for the durable goods made from PP also smashed through the rafters as we bought white goods (PP is used to make components of washing machines), consumer electronics (PP is used to make some electronic components) and carpets (PP fibres are used here).

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CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Southeast polyolefins demand growth could be negative again in 2021

Article | February 19, 2020

BEFORE the pandemic, GDP growth rates in the developing world were always higher than in developed economies.And because developing economies had much lower levels of petrochemicals consumption than their rich counterparts, it meant that the multiples over GDP were higher than in the rich word, where consumption was pretty much saturated. For instance, polyethylene (PE) demand in a developed country such as Germany might have grown at 0.3% times GDP whereas in Indonesia the growth could have been one or more times higher than the rate of growth in GDP.But as The Economist wrote in this 11 July article: “In 2021 the poorest countries, which are desperately short of vaccines, are forecast to grow more slowly than rich countries for only the third time in 25 years.” Might the multiples over GDP growth also be adversely affected in the developing world, trending lower than the historic norms? They will almost certainly remain higher than the rich countries. But here is the thing: as millions more people are pushed back into extreme poverty by the pandemic or are denied the opportunity to achieve middle-income status, I believe that developing-world multiples may well decline.Escaping extreme poverty means being able to, say, afford a whole bottle of shampoo for the first time rather than a single-serve sachet, thereby raising per capita polymers consumption.

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