SPI's Ultra Bond-100TM Rewrites the Polyurea Rules

Published: 08th June 2011
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For years, one of the most steadfast rules in the protective coating and lining industry was that applicators couldn't coat over existing polyurea after the "recoat window". Achieving proper adhesion between the old and new liner typically involved a manually intensive process and increased overall project cost. In an exciting new development, Specialty Products, Inc. (SPI) has thrown that rule out the window with the Ultra Bond-100TM product, making what was once virtually impossible a reality.

Ultra Bond-100TM is a high tensile, high elongation, fast-set elastomer that has the unique advantage of adhering to many organic substrates (plastics, rubber, wood, etc.) both new and old. "There are no other coatings that can tie in to another polyurea. This is unique and is completely new protective coating technology," says Dan Helton, president of SPI.

According to Helton, Mike Cork, director of research and development at SPI and the inventor of Ultra Bond-100TM, created a polyurea that will stick to most organic coatings, even competitor's products. In addition, Ultra Bond-100TM will adhere to nearly all substrates, with the exception of those with very low surface "Dyne" energy, such as PTFE, Olefins or Silicone. In fact, Cork uses the term "the duct tape molecule" when describing the chemical make-up of Ultra Bond-100TM. "Ultra Bond-100's™ adhesion characteristic is very similar to how duct tape works. Just like duct tape, this advanced polyurea gains adhesion strength over a period of time," says Cork.

It's All in the Chemistry

How is it possible for Ultra Bond-100TM to have such tenacious adhesion properties? According to Cork, its unique cross-linking structure allows for the chemical reaction to continue after the primary polymer has depleted itself. "As a result, the material will continue to develop additional bonds with the substrate over time. In 24 hours after application, the bond will be greater, after 30 days, even after 90 days, it is still increasing bond strength," says Cork.

With its unique chemical make-up, Ultra Bond-100TM fills a large void in the marketplace, allowing for the comprehensive repair of existing polyurea coating and lining systems. Helton states, "It is an exceptional retrofit product."

This new technology has huge implications not only for recoating over an old coating system, but also for repairs or tie-ins for ongoing projects. Most polyureas have a 12-24 hour recoat window and once an application is beyond that window, extensive surface preparation must be undertaken, often including abrading. Primer must also be applied before polyurea application can resume. "Without Ultra Bond-100TM, if you miss the application window, you have to do it all over again," says Helton.

On large jobs, where it isn't feasible to finish all work within the recoat window, Ultra-Bond 100TM can save a great deal of time and money. Because Ultra Bond-100TM sticks to itself, the applicator can simply come back the next day and start spraying where he/she left off!

In addition, Ultra Bond-100TM is 100% solids with no solvents or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), exhibits good chemical resistance, allows for a fast return to service and can be applied in surface temperatures ranging from below 0 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This advanced elastomeric polymer can be applied with traditional polyurea equipment. However, unlike other polyureas, Ultra Bond-100TM does not require labor-intensive surface preparation or primer application – a clean, dry surface that is free of oils and debris is all that is required.

In addition, Ultra Bond-100™ can also adhere to many inorganic substrates with the use of SPI's AE-4™ adhesion enhancer additive. These substrates include many ferrous and non-ferrous metals and cementitious and silicas, such as concrete and glass. The AE-4™ admixture helps to form a chemical bond to a properly prepared substrate and eliminates time-consuming surface preparation.

"I Don't Make the Rules, I Just Live By Them"

One applicator who is ecstatic about this revolutionary product is Ron Morrow, owner of Linings Unlimited, located in Anchorage, Alaska. Morrow is an accomplished applicator with approximately twenty years of experience with polyurea coatings and liners.

Where applying polyurea was concerned, he had a great deal of frustration with the rules. "I'm in the application business, not the coating removal business and to apply a new coating to existing polyurea, we would have to completely remove the old lining system with a chisel and hammer," says Morrow.

The removal of an existing coating or lining system can be a painstaking process, costing owners a great deal of time and money. In today's challenging times, very few organizations have much of either to spare. Now with Ultra Bond 100TM, there is another option.

Fuel Tank Farms and Ultra Bond-100TM: A Perfect Match

Ultra Bond-100TM spent 2-3 years in R&D and the last 3-4 years in field testing. The best example of how Ultra Bond-100TM completely changes the rules of polyurea application in the protective coating industry involves Morrow and the remediation of fuel tank farms in Alaska. Approximately 17 years ago, one of SPI's polyurea products, Polyshield SS-100® was used in conjunction with geo-textile fabric to create above ground secondary containment for dozens of fuel tank farms along the coast of Alaska. The Polyshield SS-100® performed very well for over a decade and a half, but eventually everyday wear and tear, plus the harsh Alaska weather cycle took a toll on the liners. "With the wind uplift and the salt water environment, the seams in the liners were starting to tear and delaminate," says Morrow.

After walking around one of the tank farms, Morrow knew that something needed to be done. Before Ultra Bond-100TM, there would have been only one option: tear out the old liner and install a new one. This process is time-consuming, costly, and presents a great deal of risk. "What happens if you have a spill while the liner is being torn out?" asks Morrow.

"Then you've got an even bigger problem on your hands."

According to Morrow, Petro Marine, the owner of the tank farms, asked his advice. Morrow presented Ultra Bond-100TM as the remediation technology. "For just one of the tank farms, it would cost about $450,000 to install a new lining system, plus an additional $200,000 for the removal of the old system. With Ultra Bond-100TM, the repairs can be made for just under $100,000. With the application of Ultra Bond-100TM, I anticipate 15-18 years of service will be added to the existing lining system," says Morrow.

Needless to say, the owner gave Morrow and his crew the green light.

Applying the New Rules

Although Ultra Bond-100TM is not your run-of-the-mill polyurea, its application is fairly standard. When Morrow and his crew arrive at one of the tank farms, the first order of business is prep work. Areas are masked off and the surface is cleaned – all debris is swept away and the area is washed to remove any dirt, oils or waxes. The biggest difference in this part of the process is that when using Ultra Bond-100TM, the surface does not need to be abraded or primed. The elimination of these two steps saves countless hours and dollars for the owner.

According to Morrow, the size and layout of the tank farms vary, but typically a tank farm has 8 to 9 tanks. Some are wide open with lots of space between the tanks and others are more tightly configured. On average, he and his crew apply 60,000 square feet of Ultra Bond-100TM using standard polyurea equipment (Gusmer 20/35 Pro). "Depending on the weather conditions, we shoot from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet a day," says Morrow.

Because Ultra Bond-100TM is not constrained by the 12-hour recoat window, Morrow can tie in to the previous day's work with ease.

While applying the lining system, Morrow and his crew follow all necessary safety precautions, using respirators, safety glasses, Tyvek suits and appropriate footwear. It is important to note that while the Ultra Bond-100TM technology eliminates several steps in the application process, there are no shortcuts when it comes to safety, regardless of the product or process.

Meeting a Marketplace Demand

"There has always been a need for a polyurea that can adhere to organic coatings," says Helton. "Thanks to Mike Cork, SPI can now fill that need with Ultra Bond-100TM."

Ultra Bond-100TM can be applied anywhere there is a need for remediation of an existing organic coating, such as in the oil and gas industry or the wastewater and water industry. The invention of Ultra Bond-100TM can effectively change the way owners think about the service life of their existing polyurea coating and lining systems. Affordable and reliable, long-term rehabilitation of existing systems is now possible. With the application of Ultra Bond-100TM, the service life of an asset can be extended 15 plus years.

For applicators, the creation of Ultra Bond-100TM eliminates some of the biggest frustrations in the application process. It allows for Morrow and others like him to do what they do best – spray polyurea. Less time is spent on prep work, and tying in to the previous day's work is no longer a frustrating and labor-intensive endeavor.

Ultra Bond-100™ is not the only exciting new technology Specialty Products is offering in the protective coating industry. The LPG™ is a lightweight and portable machine that is capable of applying Synergy Series polyurea in the tightest of quarters. This polyurea equipment utilizes low pressure and low heat. According to Helton, the LPG™ can apply material at close to room temperature and uses less power than a hair dryer. Together, the Ultra Bond-III™ Synergy polyurea, and the LPG™ technologies make jobs that were virtually impossible only a few years ago a reality.

Mark Robert always write about mining coatings.This article is a guide to corrosion coatings.

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