ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 16, 2013

Development of an Improved VOC Analysis Method for Architectural Coatings

Dane Jones, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

April 20, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Press Release
Research Project


To improve air quality in California, regulations have been adopted to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from application of architectural coatings. With lowered VOC limits, regulatory enforceability problems have developed, because the standard method (EPA Method 24) for determining VOC content of coatings is an indirect method of measuring VOCs. Therefore, Method 24 is unreliable for the analysis of low-VOC water-borne coatings, not suitable for determining the VOC content of solvent-borne coatings containing VOC-exempt compounds or hazardous air pollutants, and cannot be used to determine VOC levels in two-component water-borne coatings.

Cal Poly developed direct methods of analysis, based on ASTM Method D6886, to determine the VOC content of low-VOC water-borne coatings. These methods also determine the fractional amount of each individual VOC in the coating. Cal Poly used their methods to determine the VOC content of 67 coatings samples chosen from the ARB’s 2001 Architectural Coatings Survey. Twelve coatings were selected for a mini-round robin validation study of the methods developed. By comparing their VOC content results with those obtained using EPA Method 24, Cal Poly showed their new methods were significantly more accurate than Method 24 for nearly all classes of coatings. These results enabled Cal Poly to write a unified architectural VOC testing manual for use by California air districts.

Speaker Biography

Dane Jones Ph.D. is Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Stanford University. Dr. Jones has participated in several CARB projects dealing with coatings.  Professor Jones has authored publications on the analysis of the composition of architectural and aerosol coatings, the development of species profiles for architectural coatings, and the development of new VOC analysis methods for coatings

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