Known internationally for its concentration of colleges and universities, world-renowned medical centers and biomedical research laboratories, present-day Boston is in part a fulfillment of a conscious effort to create what Oliver Wendell Holmes described in 1859 as “the thinking centre of the continent.”
“With Harvard’s founding in 1636, Boston quickly became a hub for American intellect and a breeding ground for the American Revolution,” Joseph Pedro explained in an article for Passport magazine. “This legacy of Boston as a center of progressive thought and liberal education has continued since the 17th century. With Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, and dozens of other universities calling the city home, a highly educated and young population is at the center of what makes Boston unique. This is a college town on a large scale, and a traveler’s experience can change depending on whether school is in session or not.”
In his book titled, “The Athens of America,” author and historian Thomas H. O’Connor chronicled the efforts of Boston’s citizenry in the 19th century to transform the city into a modern version of ancient Athens. “Just as ancient Athens had been long regarded as the Cradle of Civilization, a well-ordered republic that fostered literature, learning and the fine arts, many of Boston’s leaders saw Boston as exercising that same role for itself, as well as for the nation as a whole,” O’Connor observed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boston’s metropolitan area is home to more than 80 private colleges and universities with a workforce of more than 68,000 employees. “As a result, the Boston area’s highly educated labor force continues to attract knowledge-based industries such as high technology, biotechnology, and financial services,” the Bureau reported. “These industries have high wages, generate jobs faster than overall job growth does, and attract much-needed venture capital funds required to sustain the area’s prominence as a center for higher education and research.”
Growth in these knowledge-based industries has spurred an ongoing demand for high performance coating systems that are specially formulated to meet the special requirements of educational and health care environments, including research laboratories and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. These coatings must also meet environmental standards under the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), a coalition of Northeast states, which enforces a volatile organic compound (VOC) limit for Industrial Maintenance coatings of 340 grams per liter. The OTC has initiated a rule-making process to adopt a VOC limit of 250 grams per liter by January 2014.
At Children’s Hospital Boston, which is the primary teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, a fiberglass mat reinforced coating system from Tnemec was used extensively on wall substrates in laboratory and vivarium areas of the Karp Family Research Laboratories. “The project required a coating system that was seamless, durable and resistant to harsh disinfectant cleaning,” coating consultant Larry Mitkus of the Righter Group recalled.
The coating system consisted of a prime coat of Series 201 Epoxoprime, a high-solids polyamine epoxy, which aided in smoothing the cement board substrate to create a pinhole-free surface. Joints and screw holes were treated using Series 215 Surfacing Epoxy, an advanced generation, 100 percent solids epoxy filler and surfacer for concrete or steel. The Stranlok® Mat Lay-Up (ML) system required placing a fiberglass-reinforced mat into a bedding coat of Series 280 Tneme-Glaze, a modified polyamine epoxy, while it was still wet. The fiberglass mat was smoothed with trowels to eliminate air pockets and saturated with a second coat of Series 280. After the coating cured, it was sanded and given another coat of Series 280 and a finish coat of Series 1081 Endura-Shield, a waterborne acrylic polyurethane, which features low-VOC content and a semi-gloss finish in an off-white color.
More than 1 million square feet of spray-applied and mat lay-up fiber reinforced wall coating systems have been applied at medical, pharmaceutical and research facilities across the U.S. “These applications require high performance wall coating systems that can be aggressively cleaned,” Mitkus acknowledged. “These systems are also impact resistant, which is critical in medical environments.”
At Boston University’s John Hancock Student Village - a $220 million apartment, fitness, sports and entertainment complex - a single-component primer from Tnemec was specified to protect perimeter steel from corrosion under select sprayed-on fireproofing systems. Series 394 PerimePrime, a micaceous iron oxide and zinc-filled primer, was able to meet the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) requirements of Class B slip resistance over SSPC-SP3 Power Tool Cleaning surface preparation.
Tnemec coatings specified in other areas of the project included Series 594 Omnithane, a modified aromatic polyurethane primer, for the pool area; Series 130 Envirofill, a waterborne cementitious acrylic, and Series 161 Tneme-Fascure, a polyamide epoxy, for the walls in the pool area; Series 27 F.C. Typoxy, a polyamide epoxy for steel fabrication, as the topcoat for the ice rink area; Series 115 Uni-Bond DF, a hydrophobic acrylic, was used for the gym; Series 61 Tneme-Liner, a cycloaliphatic amine epoxy, was applied to the ice trenches in the Zambone area; and Series 664 Dur A Pell 40, a silane coating, was applied to stadium seating.