By Colin Sheehan, RCS Reporter.
In this episode of Roofing Road Trips, Heidi J. Ellsworth visits with Jim Nevin and Bud Polston of United Asphalts about the history and future of modified asphalt in both residential and commercial markets. The three discuss asphalt’s redundancy and protective abilities as well as the role asphalt will play in a future concerned with sustainable roofing options.
Bud Polston is the executive vice president of sales and marketing with United Asphalts. Jim Nevin is the owner of Unique Chemical Solutions, alongside business partner Chris Shepherd. Unique Chemical Solutions regularly consults with United Asphalts and together, Jim and Bud are working on research and development initiatives within modified asphalt.
“We're happy to be here representing United Asphalts in some of the new product initiatives that we have undertaken in the last few years,” said Jim.
As everyone around the world has seen an increase in severe weather, some necessary changes had to be made to oxidized asphalts. United Asphalts is now working on increasing UV resistance, better tensile strength, elongation and recovery. The two are predicting more regulations to meet the standards of environmental sustainability initiatives.
“As we see more regulations, like needing to have some green space on a roof, there are only certain products that you can use in vegetative roofing [to accomplish this] and asphalt is one of those. We see that as being the trend moving forward,” said Bud.
One of the components of asphalts that Jim and Bud were eager to share on the podcast was something called styrenic block copolymers. Notably different than random copolymers, which integrate into the polymer chain randomly, the block style offers more initial control over the product and improves the physical properties of asphalt.
"It gives it better cohesive strength, it gives it good elongation, it helps with adhesion, it helps with moisture properties, it helps with things like nail seal-ability, it drastically improves the cold temperature properties of the asphalt so that it doesn't crack,” said Jim.
In SEBS materials, United Asphalts is working to take away “reactive sites” through a process called unsaturation. Through reducing these reactive sites, the rubber becomes more stable and more resistant to degradation and environmental conditions like sunlight or oxidation.
“Both [SBS and SEBS] have similar attributes or, in part, similar attributes to the asphalt itself but they both offer unique attributes as well,” said Jim. “The SEBS being more of a high temperature polymer, the SBS being used more in applications where you need the unsaturation sites cross-link it.”
Listen to the whole podcast to learn more about how asphalt went from a throwaway commodity to a necessary product that has reshaped modern roofing.
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