ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives are two-component products developed with waterborne acrylic emulsions and functional additives. They are designed to replace the conventional solvent or solvent-free polyurethane (PU) adhesives for eco-friendly sports surface installation, e.g. running track, playground, jogging lane and ball court. Their formulations are innovative with specially selected hybrid high/low Tg acrylic emulsions modified with different functional additives and cross-linkers.
As a different technical approach compared to the conventional PU based technology, the innovated ECOGROUND(TM) technology solves the challenge of turning wall coating emulsions into a kind of flooring material to achieve the requested workability for sports surfaces construction with different application methods, manual troweling, machine spray and machine paving, and also to meet the requested mechanical properties for sports activities. In addition, the ECOGROUND(TM) adhesives have no flammable risk during production, transportation, storage and application, are washable with tap water rather than organic solvent and show very low VOC and odor, accelerated drying speed, excellent color retention and competitive cost. Their high UV resistance makes them especially suitable for the top layer of outdoor sports surfaces, and their low VOC and odor also for indoor sports surfaces.
According to our calculation, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) number of ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives is 2.81 kg CO2eq/kg. Compared to PU adhesives, the former’s GHG emission avoidance per functional unit can reach 1.87 kg CO2eq/kg. The patent for ECOGROUND(TM) technology has been granted in China, U.S., Europe, Australia and Singapore, etc.
ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives can be easily manufactured with just physical mixing at room temperature, rather than through chemical reactions as for PU adhesives. The investment for the production process is also cheaper: high speed mixer and stirring pot are the major equipment. The adhesives have been successfully produced in China, Singapore and India already.
ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives has been marketed in schools, kindergarten, communities and urban public facilities for the installation of sports surfaces. They are used together with either newly produced elastomeric granules such as EPDM or recycled elastomeric granules such as tire rubber and shoes rubber. Due to the protection of ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives for elastomeric granules, their degradation can be significantly reduced. Therefore, the sports surfaces paved with ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives are potential to be recycled at the end-of-life. In 2020, Dow collaborated with Sport Singapore to complete a demo project with the granules recycled from waste shoes. Usually, worn out shoes are just thrown away, which are then incinerated and/or landfilled. In that small project, 21,000 pairs of shoes (approx. 7,700kg) were collected and recycled into rubber granules. A water-permeable jogging lane of 14 mm thick and 108 m long at new Kallang Football Hub was installed with those recycled granules. ECOGROUND(TM) waterborne adhesives have potential for the treatment of different kinds of recycled elastomeric granules to generate more sustainable solutions.