Ever since prehistoric days, humans have used natural paint systems to decorate caves, etc. However, after the introduction of cheaper base products such as mineral oils, the use of more expensive and environmentally friendly resources in paints and coatings declined.

Now, due to the depletion of petroleum based feedstock and consumer environmental awareness, use of environmentally friendly paints and coatings is again growing in all areas from domestic through to high end industrial coatings and coverings.

A group of scientists based in India [Dutta, N., et al., Prog. Org. Coat. (2009) 65, 131] have successfully formulated a series of stoving paints from Mesua ferrea L. seed oil modified polyurethane binder systems. The tests (which included thermal analysis and SEM analysis) proved that the epoxy modified stoving paints have improved characteristics compared to those of the industrially derived paints.

The chief component of paint is the binder, which is generally a natural or synthetic resin, vegetable oil, natural protein or fat. The binder is responsible for the film formation and adhesion to various surfaces. The basic properties of paint such as drying, gloss, durability, flexibility, adhesion, scratch resistance, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, etc. depend on the nature and composition of the binder. The paint is also composed of pigments and some other additives such as dispersing agents, wetting agents, etc.

In this study, Mesua ferrea L. seed oil-based polyurethane/epoxy blends were used as the binders for the test paint, and compared with conventionally used resin in the standard paint systems.

The scientists have shown Mesua ferrea L. seed oil based polyurethane resins can be used successfully for the preparation of industrial stoving paints in combination with commercially available resins. Various parameters, which reflect performance characteristics were announced. The new paints show excellent resistance towards various chemicals, corrosion and ultraviolet light, which are all good signs of overall improved durability.

The outlook is very bright in terms of the eventual utilization of those paints as high performance stoving paints in the automotive, appliance and wood industries. Higher pot life, lower raw material costs and less environmental hazard are all strong indicators for the Mesua ferrea L. seed oil-based polyurethane paints that add to the attraction of eventual consumer acceptance. Continued research will be necessary to ensure the features of the new system are maximised to guarantee durability and flexibility in a number of situations.