Washington, DC - Following the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota, Minneapolis, on 2 August, and the shut down in 2006 of an oil pipeline in Alaska due to corrosion, researchers are facing increased pressure to develop better protective coatings to help save aging infrastructures. An article in the 17 Sept issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly news magazine, looks at the way protective coatings and paints, such as polyurethane and epoxy resins, are designed primarily to prevent corrosion in metal-based structures such as bridges, storage tanks and buildings. PUs form 25 percent and epoxies 50 percent of commonly used anti-corrosion coatings for metal structures, in a relatively small market worth $5000 million in 2005. This data comes from the Global Coatings Report 2006, commissioned by coatings maker Akzo Nobel from Euromonitor International. The entire coatings market was valued at $86 billion in 2005, said the article. Part of a fast-growing industry, these chemicals have played an important but unsung role in protecting structures for many years, writes Alexander Tullo, a senior editor with C&EN. Tullo highlights the way coating makers try to balance long-term coating protection with growing customer demand for ease of use and lower prices and societal demands for reducing volatile organic emissions from paints and other coatings. He also looks at new multi-functional coatings that reduce the number of protective coats applied while retaining maximum coating performance and faster-acting curing agents that get paint jobs finished more quickly.But disasters aren't the only thing fuelling demand for better coatings. A boom in construction work in emerging economies in China, India, and eastern Europe is also increasing demand, Tullo notes.PIC: The Humber Bridge in the UK. "