Colored traffic zones with iron oxide pigments ensure safety

Over the past years, safety awareness has been rising with administrations and traffic offices. This has contributed to intensified use of colors. For all applications like paving stones, precast concrete elements or ready-mix concrete, the pigments used need to be light fast and weather-resistant in order to maintain the safety effect long term.

Pedestrian zones, high traffic density and lanes for different vehicles – especially inner cities often have to cope with these complex challenges. To ensure safety for all road users, surfaces of roundabouts, bicycle lanes, school areas or traffic-calmed zones can be colored. To ensure that these markings offer the best performance for a long period of time, concrete, pavements and asphalt are colored with iron oxides, which fulfil special requirements like no other pigment group.

Iron oxides from Cathay Industries have been proven as high-quality pigments for the use in the construction industry. Powders, liquids and spray-dried granules guarantee easy processing in the coloring procedure and offer highest light fastness, weather resistance and color strength to achieve optimal and ongoing safety in traffic.

Intensified use of colors in traffic zones

Over the past years, safety awareness has been rising with administrations and traffic offices. This has contributed to intensified use of colors. “In many countries as for example in the Netherlands and in Belgium pigmented surfaces have already been adopted as a safety feature, others will follow suit for the maximum possible protection of road users”, says Axel Schneider, CEO of Cathay Industries Europe. Common example is the division of lanes for cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians.

This can be achieved by using different construction materials and by coloring them in different shades. Thus, concrete slabs for bike paths often appear in red, whereas low speed zones of paving stones may be colored in yellow, and road asphalt may receive a deep black color. Marked traffic-calmed areas close to nursery, school or playing zones, for example, improve safety especially for children. Also, elderly people benefit particularly from easier orientation due to highlighted lanes or crosswalks.

Various pigment formulations required

For all applications like paving stones, precast concrete elements, ready-mix concrete or asphalt, the pigments used need to be light fast and weather-resistant in order to maintain the safety effect long term. For the contractor, easy and fast processing is important for cost effective and efficient formulating work. Hence the pigment type has to be compatible with the dosing method and with the selected base material.

Depending on the application being water-based or bitumen-based, the choice of pigment type is key. Other factors like the water-cement-ratio make users decide whether they apply dry or liquid products, powders, granules or asphalt pellets.

Coloring with powders, liquids and granules

All in all, different pavements and coloring processes require different pigment products. Cathay provides solutions to these very numerous requirements of the industry with its diversified product portfolio of synthetic iron oxide pigments. Thanks to their light fastness, weather resistance and color strength these synthetic pigments are particularly suitable for the application of traffic areas. Cathay offers these products under its brand names Ferrotint (powders), Aquatint (liquids) and CathayGran (granules). The Ferrotint range is characterized by high economic efficiency and quality.

The Aquatint portfolio of liquid pigment slurries has been developed for rapid dispersion in water and provide solid storage stability as well as easy processing.

Applying latest state-of-the-art technology, Cathay manufactures spray-dried granules. The CathayGran range are designed for the use in practically all kinds of automated dosage machines. The products permit easy dispersion during the end-user‘s mixing process. They achieve high color development levels and offer highest levels of consistency and strength.

All of the three iron oxide series – Ferrotint, Aquatint and CathayGran – can be used for coloring precast concrete elements or ready-mix concrete for cycling paths and curbs. Due to more exact dosing, paving stones for pathways and road pieces get a bright appearance especially by using granules. Powders and pellets are suited for roads and cycling paths made from asphalt. Pellets having the physical form of a master batch ensure better dispersion and processing in hot bitumen-based asphalt.

Tailored processability

Cathay’s pigments for the construction industry are certified in accordance to European norm EN 12878 (June 1999, updated in 2014), which sets standards regarding pigments for the coloring of building materials based on cement and/or lime – specifications and test methods.

Concerning processability, Cathay has designed its product grades for the use in all common dosing systems. Automated installations, for example pneumatic dosing machines, require good measurability and excellent flowability of the pigments. This is accomplished by the Aquatint and CathayGran ranges. Manual dosing systems demand dust protection for workers. Cathay has solved this challenge by packing pigments in its cold water soluble bags that can be fully dosed during the fresh concrete mixing procedure without unpacking. In this way, the workers avoid direct contact with the powder pigments and stay protected against small powder particles. The package dissolves in the water-based environment without trace during the application process.

Support in selection and application

As one of the world‘s leading synthetic iron oxide pigment manufacturers, Cathay Industries offers a broad spectrum of products to fulfil the diversified requirements of the construction business. To ensure ideal results the company’s experts are available to help identifying the right colors and product type, to support the planning process and to provide technical advice.

The resulting building materials receive a significant color effect, which helps controlling and guiding traffic and enhances the sense of safety for all road users.


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