WITH ECO-FRIENDLY PAINT
An environmentally friendly paint developed by University of Southern Mississippi (USM) polymer science researchers will be used in the repairs of the Pentagon in Washington DC.
The paint formulation, dubbed American Pride, was unveiled to the public Tuesday at USM along with the first shipment of the paint - 100 gallons of off white paint. In all, at least 20,000 gallons will be used to paint one-fifth of the interior walls in the Pentagon, as well as repaint the wing damaged in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.
"It will be 12-14 months before we start painting the rebuilt wing," said Bob Billak, who is in charge of maintenance at the Pentagon. "Before then, we will use the paint on the corridors and offices in the [rest] of the building."
Billak said the paint has been tested and shown to be more durable than conventional paint. More tests await the paint in Washington, DC.
"They will take this paint and use it on a mock up of Pentagon offices," said Dr. Shelby Thames, distinguished professor of polymer science at the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. "By this summer, they will be ready to start ordering it in big volumes."
The paint, developed by a USM research team led by Thames, was unveiled during an Earth Day celebration last April.
The paint includes a chemical building block derived from castor oil. The component, called a "castor oil acrylated monomer," takes the place of a solvent in the formulation of the paint. That reduces the amount of toxic pollutants given off by the water based paint into the atmosphere.
Conventional paint, Thames said, contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which pollute the airand give fresh paint its unpleasant odor. The new technology developed at USM will remove the VOCs from the paint, cutting the level of pollutants from about 200-400 grams per liter of paint to as low as three grams.
"The bottom line is this technology uses castor oil, soybean oil or lesquerella oil to allow us to make latex polymers that have wide applications," Thames said. "Not just paints, but inks, adhesives, carpet backings, coating for fibers, coatings for concrete steel, just a huge potential for applications. And we can make these coating systems that have no odor and release no pollutants into the atmosphere."
The paint will be a money saver for the Pentagon and, by extension, U.S. taxpayers, Billak said.
"Since the paint has no VOCs, there is no downtime in painting," said Billak. "We repaint every five years, and by using this paint, we won't have to shut down offices and move personnel out while we paint."
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