thermoplastic line markings

Thermoplastic road marking vs. paint

When one considers thermoplastics and paint one enters a big subject locally and internationally. Big? It has major economic implications and impacts road safety.

Essentially, first world countries have thermoplastics and second and third world countries have paint. Wise men say that the richer one is the cheaper certain things become. This is unfortunately true in the case of line markings on the roads.

Paint has the singular virtue of being cheap. If one is determined to lower costs and do a job that is OK at the beginning but fails to survive the test of time paint is the option for you. When deciding between thermoplastic and paint the accountant will be pleased with the choice of paint provided it is for some third party and the seller has no written guarantees or only for a short time.

Typically, paint for the road consists of:

  1. Solvents
  2. Water
  3. Binders
  4. Resins
  5. Pigments
  6. Optionally :Retroreflective glass beads

Each of these has options, for example whether or not to have polyvinyl acetate in water-based chemicals and whether or not to have toluene in the solvents. Although the choices are great all these paint options has the shared ingredient of being short term. The friction of heavy lorries and trucks take their toll and a few months after application the paint looks and is tatty.

Road safety is definitely compromised so when considering thermoplastics and paint one is advised to go for the former for both economic and road safety considerations.

One has to apply the paint with a special truck holding hundreds of gallons of paint. Fortunately, the paint dries soon.

Thermoplastics are the road markings of the rich. A byproduct of the petroleum industry it consists of the remains of ancient sea creatures and plants and are part of the vast plastics industry.

Thermoplastics have: Hydrocarbons, rosin esters and maleic modified rosin esters. In addition: Fillers, glass beads (optional for reflectivity), plasticers and binder resins.

Application is one of three ways:

  1. Propane torch or equivalent
  2. Overlay
  3. Inlay

So heat can be used to fuse the thermoplastic to the road surface, road cement is used to bind the thermoplastic to the road or the heat of the paving process is itself used to fuse the thermoplastic to the road.

Unlike the truck spraying paint on the roads a specialized vehicle is used to literally burn the thermoplastic to the road surface if one uses heat externally.

In a warm climate thermoplastic can be expected to last three to six years. Money considerations permitting the thermoplastics or paint question is always in favour of thermoplastic.

Realistically, the thermoplastics and paint question is so logically pointed at the plastic that one wonders why anybody uses paint. The reason is that most of the world is poor and short term expedients are a short term quick fix.

Because the subject is a big one, major research by the transportation ministry of whatever country is in order. Thermoplastic and paint? It could be that expressways and motorways require thermoplastics and little used country roads can rely on paint but this is a decision that depends on the peculiarities of the local environment.

We have barely scratched the surface and the thermoplastic and paint question goes on and on.

Looking to the future, epoxy is thought to be the material of the near future. So look into that too.

We plan to keep you up to date from different writers on the subject so keep visiting this site often

thermoplastic line markings