||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
II The Australian Chemical Industry
IV Chemists In Other Industries
V The Dawn Of Modern Chemical Industry - High Pressure Synthesis
VI The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links
VII Australian Industrial Chemical Research Laboratories
VIII The Plastics Industry
IX The Paint Industry
i The pioneers
ii The early years - home- and trade-made paints
iii Industrial manufacture
iv Some important developments in the 1920s and 30s
v Rapid growth in the 1950s and 60s
vi Some Australian inventions
vii Recent trends
viii Pigments manufacture
ix Trends in the chemical industry in the 1980s
Some Australian inventionsAustralian contributions to the technology touched on in the broad technical context above, are inevitably submerged in the flow of international technology. Some inventions, however, originated in Australia and were developed commercially in Australia and overseas. They merit separate comment.
Metallic zinc-alkali silicate paints
DULUX conceived an imaginative combination of polymer and colloid chemistry. By dissolving a polymer in a monomer, emulsifying the latter in water in the presence of special surface active agents and then polymerising it, tiny spheres of polymer blends could be formed. The concept led to several inventions which were exploited world-wide.
In later developments, a double emulsion process was employed to incorporate titaniuim dioxide and sub-microscopic air bubbles into the microspheres. Much improved light scattering and therefore paint cover was obtained, and costs were reduced. A range of house paints based on 'Spindrift' (reg. trademark) beads followed, and special plants were built in Australia and by associated paint companies around the world. In addition licences were sold to three paint companies in the USA and a pigment manufacturer in the UK. 'Sprindrift' technology extended to North and South America, Africa, Europe and New Zealand and royalties earned overseas exceeded $1.5M. In 1981 Dulux Australia won an Export Award for 'Services to Technology'.
The 'Dusol' (reg. trademark) process recovers nearly all of the organic solvent, leaving residues which do not harm the environment. After forming fine droplets of paint-waste in water and stabilising these, solvent stripping by conventional steam distillation is facilitated by the large surface area of the droplets. The hydrocarbon fraction which contains some polar solvent separates and is recovered, while the water fraction is continuously returned to complete steam stripping of the remaining polar solvent. The result is 98-99 per cent solvent recovery. By filtration, the remaining mixture of water and paint granules is separated and the granules are suitable for disposal as landfill. A full scale plant was built and has since treated paint waste from Dulux Australia, its customers and other paint companies.
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - DULUX Australia Ltd
© 1988 Print Edition pages 722 - 723, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher