Does EcoClean™ affect Alcoa’s current paint warranty? All current Alcoa paint warranties remain valid and unchanged even with the addition of EcoClean™. Alcoa’s EcoClean™ upgrades any surface by adding active and passive cleaning.
Does Alcoa have any long-term testing on how EcoClean™ is going to perform? As it does with all paint coatings, Alcoa utilizes accelerated testing to confirm EcoClean™’s performance on coil-coated aluminum. EcoClean™-coated products have been undergoing accelerated aging tests to simulate five- and ten-year outdoor exposure. Additionally, years of available test data on titanium dioxide (TiO2) back up its longevity as a photocatalyst. As a catalyst, the titanium dioxide is not used up in the cleaning process; rather it jump-starts the oxidation reaction.
Will the EcoClean™ coating continue to function long term, even with heavy soiling? Yes. Since the TiO2 is a “catalyst” in the reaction, it is never consumed; rather it keeps on working so long as it is present. EcoClean™ is designed to continually clean organic dirt as it accumulates. Of course, if the building is exposed to a large volume of debris, it will take longer for the sunlight to reach the titanium dioxide on the surface. Also, if surface pollution is inorganic in nature, it will need to be rinsed off with water. Since the surface is superhydrophilic, rainwater will sheet off the panels’ surface, undercutting dirt and grime, and thus enabling the reaction to continue.
How does EcoClean™ neutralize smog? EcoClean™ breaks down or degrades smog by oxidizing the smog molecule – effectively changing it from a harmful compound, nitrogen oxide, to a harmless nitrate compound. The TiO2 works by reacting with ambient humidity in the air – or water – and sunlight in a chemical reaction that creates -OH (hydroxyl radicals) and O2- (superoxide anions). These in turn reach out and react with pollutants like smog (NOx), breaking them down from environmentally damaging compounds into simpler, harmless compounds. For an animated documentation of this process, please visit the Alcoa EcoClean™ website at ecoclean.com.
Are there areas of the building where EcoClean™ will not be as effective? Areas of a building that receive little or no sunlight exposure, such as under soffits, will not display the same degree of performance as areas receiving full exposure.
What happens if EcoClean™-coated panels are not exposed to sunlight? If EcoClean™ is not exposed to sunlight or UV light at all, then the photo-catalytic reaction that creates all the benefits does not take place. However, if EcoClean™ panels are exposed to UV light during the daytime, they continue working into the night, although at a decreasing rate over time, since the electrons in the TiO2 are still energized from their UV exposure during the day.
Why use EcoClean™ in areas not known for having high levels of air pollution? Smog/NOx comes from many sources, even from natural sources. Alcoa’s EcoClean™ coating cleans all types of organic dirt and pollutants. Whether it be Los Angeles, California, or more rural areas, there are certain to be cars, buildings, birds and other entities that produce nitrogen oxides in various forms that combine with water vapor to form smog.
How does Alcoa calculate the smog removal equivalents of EcoClean™ in cars and trees? Calculations are made based on the average removal rate of an EcoClean™-coated aluminum sample tested in a NOx removal test. Air saturated with NOx is flowed over the sample in a test chamber, with the difference in NOx concentration in input versus output air determining the removal rate in milligrams per square meter per day. This removal rate is then converted to tree equivalents using the NOx removal rate for the average tree from more than 50 North American cities and to car equivalents for the average vehicle driven 10,000 miles per year. Results can be seen in the EcoClean™ “evaluator”, a value calculator tool on the EcoClean™ website.
The titanium dioxide in EcoClean™ breaks down organic matter; is it harmful to humans? No. The reality is that titanium dioxide is used in many of the products we all use, such as quick-setting concrete, toothpaste, tile grout and cosmetics. EcoClean™ employs the same reaction used by the oxygenating cleaner to clean your clothes of organic dirt. That same titanium dioxide contributes to a clean building and clean air by oxidizing organic pollutants.
Does EcoClean™ contain nano-particles? Alcoa is committed to world-class environmental health and safety (EHS) practices and, as such, has evaluated EHS implications of its new EcoClean™ coating, which utilizes submicron-sized titanium dioxide particles in its composition. In EcoClean™, TiO2 particles are grouped together in submicron-sized clumps.
Won’t the titanium dioxide (TiO2) actually destroy the painted surface? Many have attempted to apply TiO2 directly to a painted surface only to discover that it begins consuming the organic components in the paint’s pigments – effectively destroying the paint. Alcoa research has formulated a technology for successfully applying the TiO2 compound via coil coating that does NOT attack the paint.
Can the EcoClean™ surface be touched or washed without removing the coating? Yes. Although EcoClean™ is a softer coating than the various paint systems over which it is applied, one can touch and wash EcoClean™-coated surfaces. The product can be gently spot wiped with water if required. If necessary, low-pressure streams of plain water can be applied to rinse away surface pollutants. Additionally, the coating has been submitted to and passed common durability tests such as rub tests, salt spray, UV exposure and reverse impact tests.
Does EcoClean™ affect silicone caulking used for wet-set systems? EcoClean™-coated surfaces should be prepared for caulking by first wiping caulk contact areas with isopropyl alcohol. Next, an approved primer, either DOW Corning® 1200 OS or DOW Corning Primer C, should be applied, followed finally by the application of an approved silicone caulking. Alcoa recommends DOW 795 or DOW 995 for sealing.
Are there any general handling and installation instructions? Yes. They are located on the EcoClean™ website.