Determining KEE Content in a Roofing Membrane

NMR Spectra

What is the proper amount of Ketone Ethylene Ester (KEE) to achieve optimum performance properties in a roofing membrane?  This is an interesting question that actually played out over 40-years ago. Yet KEE-lite membranes are entering the market boasting that they too have superior performance just because they use KEE in their vinyl formulation.  It takes time to determine whether or not any product will actually perform at its optimum and we all know that time is brutal.

Before the ink was dry on the ASTM D6754 Standard Specification for Ketone Ethylene Ester (KEE) Based Sheet Roofing there were rumblings to have it pulled because other than DuPont, no one had a legitimate method for determining the KEE content of the roofing sheets.  And DuPont wasn’t about to share its trade secrets.

There is a provision within the ASTM D6754 that defines a KEE membrane as having a minimum KEE polymer content of 50% by weight.  Therefore, unless the content can be measured, anyone can and many do claim compliance with the standard and go unchallenged.

Today’s research front is not on the right amount of KEE, as history has already settled that debate.  Rather it is focused on a methodology to determine the actual KEE content of a membrane.  And here, Seaman Corporation is leading the way.  Seaman has presented testing evidence to ASTM demonstrating a methodology to actually sort the KEE from the KEE-lite materials in the market.

Several techniques have been applied / tried in the past to determine the KEE content of a roofing membrane.  None of them provided the quantification with the accuracy needed to meet the needs of the standard.

The current research path uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to accurately determine the KEE content of various KEE/PVC blends.  The method has proven accuracy to +/- 10% and there is a good probability that a new test method of KEE Determination will balloted at ASTM this fall.

So questions about any given membrane manufacturer’s claim to conform to the ASTM D6754 Standard will be answered soon enough.  And questions regarding the optimum amount of Elvaloy have been proven through performance.

What has yet to be answered is the performance of today’s KEE-lite membranes and whether or not they will actually stand the test of time.

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About Mr FiberTite

After 10-years in Local 88 out of Canton Ohio, the opportunity to drink the FiberTite Kool Aid came in 1984.  Since then I've been a student as well as a teacher in all manner of roofing with a focus on the engineering, design and installation of thermoplastic single ply roofing systems.  The industry is growing in complexity so there's plenty of opportunity to learn and sharpen your skills no matter who you are.  Hence, one of the most important things I've learned is that "to sharpen the blade, you have to rub steel with steel".

Disclaimer

FiberTite® is a Registered Trademark of Seaman Corporation.  The views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Seaman Corporation.

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