To begin with, a polyaspartic is a type of polyurea (actually a polyaspartic aliphatic polyurea). Polyurea as a commercially viable material was developed in the 1980s by Texaco Chemical Company (now Huntsman Chemical). All polyureas are two-part systems, meaning that a resin has to be mixed with a catalyst to create the curing reaction that hardens the material. Polyurea has been used very successfully for corrosion-resistant coatings and repair materials, although application is awkward since it has an extremely short pot life-about 3 seconds, so the two parts must be mixed at the spray tip, requiring lots of maintenance on expensive high-pressure equipment.
Polyaspartic polyurea (or simply polyaspartics) overcomes many of those difficulties, while retaining the advantages. According to Bayer Material Science, polyaspartics are “based on the reaction of an aliphatic polyisocyanate and a polyaspartic ester, which is an aliphatic diamine.” I bet you’re glad we got that cleared up!
For most of us, the important thing to understand is that polyaspartics are a polymer coating material that has the following characteristics:
- Rapid curing (from 5 to 120 minutes, depending on the formulation)
- Can be successfully applied at surface temperatures from -30°F to 140°F
- Very low viscosity-equivalent to water-which gives it outstanding wetting ability on a properly prepared concrete floor
- High film build (up to 18 mils in a single coat)
- Bubble-free surfaces even at high humidity (although high humidity can speed up the cure time considerably)
- Potlife of 5 to 120 minutes
- UV stable so it will never turn yellow-and can provide UV protection to underlying coatings
- Made with a high solids content (as high as 100%), which means low or no volatile organics (VOCs) during application
- The cured coating can handle temperatures up to 350°F
- Crystal clear and does not blush white from moisture in the concrete
- Able to resist most stains, especially from oils and fats and even from red wine
- High abrasion resistance-higher than epoxy or urethane
- May be able to resist higher internal moisture vapor emission rates than some other non-breathing coatings-although this is an issue that is currently being investigated