New VOC Analytical Methodologies and Potential Effects on Formulations
Methodologies for determining VOC levels in paints and coatings have historically been based on EPA Method 24. This method remains the industry standard, however there are new analytical methods that potentially allow for a more accurate determination of volatiles and VOC content in paints and coatings. ASTM Method D6886 and other similar gas chromatograph-based methods are gaining preference for determining VOC of low- and zero-VOC coatings. South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is proposing their Method 313 which is also a gas chromatograph-based method that utilizes a methyl palmitate boiling point marker to separate VOCs from non-VOC compounds.
While these new methods may provide improvements in the precision of VOC determination of very low VOC products, they also introduce new potential problems when analyzing fully formulated paints. When employing a gas chromatograph-based method, popular additives including biocides, humectants, colorants, photoinitiators, and low-VOC coalescents may be identified as VOCs due to their having retention times less than the methyl palmitate boiling point marker. There is also additional uncertainty which requires validation of possible by-products produced in the heated inlet of the gas chromatograph arising from various compounds commonly used in paint formulations.
This presentation will compare EPA Method 24 with the ASTM D6886 method and show results of low- and zero-VOC paints and additives when analyzed using the ASTM D6886 method with the methyl palmitate marker. It is important that those who develop, formulate, and manufacture paints and coatings understand the potential VOC implications that these new methods may have on current and future products.
Dave Nevison is a Scientist with EPS, working in the Material Science Research Group located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has more than 30 years of analytical experience, in roles ranging from Chemist to Lab Manager, and in the development of methods for the analysis of paints and coatings. He has worked extensively on VOC-related testing including wet coating and emission chamber analyses. Dave is a member of the ASTM Committee D01 on Paint and Related Coatings and the AIM VOC Committee. Dave is a graduate of Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Presentation given May 2015 at the Coatings Regulations & Analytical Methods Conference