Green Design

Formula for the Removal and Remediation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Painted Structures

An activated metal treatment system (AMTS) removes and destroys polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in painted structures or within the binding or caulking material on structures. It may be applied using a “paint-on and wipe-off” process that leaves the structure PCB-free and virtually unaltered in physical form. AMTS is used in conjunction with a solvent solution capable of donating hydrogen atoms. AMTS as a treatment technology has two functions: first, to extract PCBs from the material, and second, to degrade the extracted PCBs.

The process for removing PCBs from structures is accomplished as an independent step to the degradation process. The goal is to extract the PCBs out of the paint, without destroying the paint, and to partition the PCBs into an environmentally friendly solvent. The research to date indicates this can be accomplished within the first 24 hours of AMTS contact with the paint. PCBs are extremely hydrophobic and prefer to be in the AMTS over the hardened paint or binder material. The solvent selected must be used to open, but not to destroy, the paint’s polymeric lattice structure, allowing pathways for PCB movement out of the paint and into the solvent. A number of solvent systems were tested and are available for use within the AMTS. The second process of the AMTS is the degradation or dehalogenation of the PCBs. The solvent selection for this process is limited to solvents that are capable of donating a hydrogen atom to the PCB structure.

Additional AMTS formulation properties that must be addressed for each site-specific application include viscosity and stability. The AMTS must be thick enough to remain where it is applied. Several thickening agents have been tested. Adding a stabilizing agent ensures that the AMTS will not evaporate and leave unprotected, activated metal exposed. During AMTS formulation testing, a number of reagents were evaluated to ensure the rate of dehalogenation was not inhibited by its addition to the system.

This work was done by Jacqueline Quinn and Kathleen Loftin of Kennedy Space Center and Cherie Geiger and Christian Clausen of Scientific Specialists Inc. For further information, contact the Kennedy Innovative Partnerships Program Office at (321) 867-5033. KSC-12878