Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds Content Using Novel Ash and Total Solids Analysis for Chemical Agent Resistant Coating Systems

Report No. ARL-TR-4625
Authors: Pauline Smith; William Lum; Daniel Pope
Date/Pages: October 2008; 14 pages
Abstract: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in coatings are a major concern of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and local air quality boards. The current laboratory standards used to determine VOCs in Chemical Agent Resistant Coating and other military coating systems are EPA Method 24 or American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM D 3960. It has been reported that VOC measurements using this method produce errors that increase nearly exponentially at VOC concentrations <2.1 lb/gal (250 g/L). The solids or nonvolatile component of the coating takes 1.5 hr to measure by oven, and the ash takes multiple hours as described in ASTM D 3723. These values are necessary to validate VOCs; the primary goal is to minimize VOCs in all coatings. This report outlines experimentation to quantify actual VOC levels of formulated paints using both EPA Method 24 and a proposed alternative test method that utilizes a moisture analyzer. Analysis of the results verified comparable accuracy between the current process and the instrumental-based method, with the latter process producing a more rapid result.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2008