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Super Therm blocks heat on containers in El Salvador

Industry: Shipping Containers

Location: El Salvador

Products: Super Therm®

Global Partner: SPI Coatings El Salvador contact

The temperature was reduced from 48°C to 30°C inside the container on a 51°C day with Super Therm®

In El Salvador, Super Therm® is now known as “pintura mágica”. (Magic Paint). There are approximately 250 containers in a local housing project.

The project is a modular built accommodation using used shipping containers. With urgent need for accommodation, containers allowed the rapid deployment of a new facility, and a relatively low cost, and would actually create great quality to what is currently available in standard constructed buildings.

They can build and deploy these just about anywhere in the country with the use of a well water, solar power lighting and other technologies to make them infrastructure independent. 

Enter Super Therm®. The distributor coated a container with Super Therm® and added also an attic ventilation fan to keep air circulating inside. 

There was no need to coat inside the unit since the primary element is sun’s radiation and high outside ambient temperatures. On the day of the presentation, a thermometer places outside the container, on the container wall, in the sun, registered 51°C (125°F) while inside the container the temperature remained at shaded ambient of 30°C (87°F). It truly amazed all who experienced it!

The temperature was reduced from 48°C to 30°C inside the container on a 51°C day.

The picture shows the local Minister noting the difference between the temperature on the surface of the painted logo, and the surface of the Super Therm®; of which there was a marked and noticeable difference. They had a standard non-coated container on site as well, and it was so hot you could not even hold your hand on the surface and inside temperatures ranged into the 48°C (120°F) range. 

After one day of applying Super Therm® it worked well. They took the temperature at 10:50am to a side panel and roof container with and without Super Therm® and look the difference. The temperature was where the sun was hitting the container.

Container without Super Therm® Wall Roof
Inside 48.6°C 58°C
Outside 48°C 49°C
Container with Super Therm® Wall Roof
Inside 30.4°C 27.8°C
Outside 30.8°C 30.2°C

The calculation showed that it will take about 11 gallons (41 litres) to complete the 40 foot container (2) sides, roof and nose. I ordered the extra 10 gallons realising for a first application we might go over that amount due to learning curve issues and the fact that we’re dealing with corrugated side vs flat panels. In the actual design of the complex, we’d only be painting the roof, the nose, and only container sides which are exposed to sunlight. Containers surfaces adjacent would not be painted as they would see no radiant heat. 

The critical issues to ensure we get the expected radiant heat shielding is: 

  • That the paint be mixed thoroughly before we spray to ensure the ceramics go properly into solution. 
  • That we have removed the filters from both the machine and gun prior to spraying to prevent the ceramics from being filtered out of the paint. 
  • That for vertical surfaces we apply the paint in 2 coats in a cross hatch pattern. (1) coat approx .008″ (8 mil) wet side to side, then let cure, followed by a second coat up and down for another .008″ (8 mil) wet. The horizontal roof coat can be applied in a single .016″ (16mil) wet application. 

A good anecdote to this story was that on the day we did this demonstration, we were asked to go into the administration building for a meeting. The container in full sun was only 30°C (87°F). In the conference room in a cement building the temperature was 29°C (95°F). They wanted to know if we’d paint their building for them! 

If the project goes forward, we’re looking at painting between 400-600 containers.

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