Research projects at Dr. Robert-Murjahn-Institut

Dr. Robert-Murjahn-Institut (RMI) conducts a series of research projects into the properties of coatings and façade systems, their durability, sustainability and their environmental relevance. The research projects are financed via contributions from a number of industry partners and project-related government subsidies. We are also supported by several research institutes by means of the intensive exchange of expert knowledge. We would like to thank our collaborative partners for supporting applied research within RMI.

Are you interested in collaborating with us? Are you interested in our projects? Then, please, contact us at info(at) !

Ongoing projects

2013 – 2017 – ‘Irrigated façades’ research project

For many years, RMI has been working intensively on the release behaviour of substances from façade coatings. The understanding of the leaching process itself has been subject to intensive research by many research institutes in previous years (BAM, UMTEC, DTI, IBP, Bester et al.). A standardised laboratory test to provide a quantitative determination of release was developed and a number of outdoor exposure tests were carried out. In order to understand and estimate the impact of the release of substances on the environment, we are currently modelling the emission process on the façade and the immission process in the ground in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute IME for Microbiology and Applied Ecology.

The project ‘Irrigated facades’ has the financial support of a consortium of associations (VdL, IWM, Bauchemie) and about 27 companies from the paints and raw materials sector. This inter-disciplinary project is supported with specialist professional support through the collaboration with the BAM, UMTEC and IME research facilities.


The project comprises modelling, analytical field and laboratory studies and ‘irrigated façades’ workshops with experts from various specialist professional areas. The aim of the project is, through interdisciplinary exchange supported by directional experimental studies, to highlight the issue among experts and develop professional and practically feasible proposals for assessing the risk in the context of German and European legislation.

2012/2013 – Odour measurements

In 2013 RMI supervised a Master’s thesis with the title “Development of a rapid odour test to assess the odour from coatings materials: comparison of odour intensity and selective substance groups sum parameters“. The aim was to develop a rapid odour test as a pre-test to the laborious and cost-intensive DIN ISO 16000-28 procedure to identify potential odour-intensive coatings.

2012/2013 – ‘Leachung of substances from façade coatings’ INS Project 1206

This follow-on project to the 2010 INS 1066 project took standard EN 16105 to investigate the release of heavy metals and organic substance groups from coatings. The aim was to demonstrate that it is technically feasible to provide evidence of hazardous substances in eluates from coatings by means of test procedure EN 16105. Doped samples were used because standard market formulae generally all contain low amounts of these substances and/or the substances only show low solubility.

The research also looked at how contact time and water volume affect the release of substances. Knowledge of the water supply is important in estimating the entry of substances into the environment when driving rain hits façades.

The results serve to expand the scope of EN16105 and assess whether the test procedure EN 16105 for assessment of the hazard to the ‘environment, health and hygiene’ can be used in the context of the European Construction Products Directive (89/106/EEC) (CPD).

The project was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology as part of the innovations in standards programme.

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2012 – Discharge water on irrigated façades

In collaboration with Prof. Dr. M. Burkhardt, HSR, Rapperswil, Dr. H. Nebel, ibac Aachen, Ch. Scherer, IBP Holzkirchen and Dr. T. Wangler, EMPA Dübendorf, driving rain and discharge water was determined at three locations in Germany, in Holzkirchen (Bavaria), Aachen (NRW) and Ober-Ramstadt (Hessen), and the relationship between driving rain and discharge water was calculated for various façade geometries and locations.

2012 – Robustness validation

Robustness validation of the dynamic surface leaching test

RMI is participating in the robustness validation of the ‘Dynamic test procedure for the determination of the surface-dependent release of substances from monolithic, plate and sheet type construction products (Dynamic surface leaching test)’ currently being developed in the Technical Committee CEN/TC 351/WG 1 ‘Construction products – assessment of the release of dangerous substances:

 release to soil, surface water and ground water’.

In cooperation with the German Federal Agency for Materials Research and Testing, RMI is testing synthetic resin plasters in according to EN 15824.

The projects ‘Runoff water on irrigated façades’  and the involvement of RMI’  in the ‘Robustness validation of the dynamic surface leaching test for synthetic resin plasters‘ have received financial support from the following partners: AkzoNobel Coatings AG, BASF SE, BK-Giulini GmbH, Caparol Farben Lacke structural protection GmbH, Celanese Emulsions GmbH, E. Dold & Söhne KG, Gebrüder Dorfner GmbH & Co., Evonik Industries AG, FEMA Farben + Putze GmbH, RÖFIX AG - Fixit-Gruppe, Greutol AG, Meffert AG Farbwerke, Omya International AG, PPG Coatings, Schuelke &Mayr GmbH, SOVA GmbH, Synthomer Deutschland GmbH, Thor GmbH, Wacker-Chemie GmbH, W&P Baustoffe GmbH. We would like to thank IBAC Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Holzkirchen and the German Federal Agency for Materials Research and Testing for their support and the Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik, the EMPA, Meteomedia and the UMTEC for their cooperation.

2010 – ‘Leaching of biocides from façade coatings’

Façades that are exposed to weather are attacked by algae and fungae which spoil the appearance of the surfaces and can lead to long-term damage. Biocides to combat algae and fungae are added to façade coatings in order to prevent such damage. 

These can leach out in weather conditions, particularly when it rains.

In this project, a laboratory method for the determination of biocides from façade coatings was developed and validated. The results have been incorporated in the European standard EN 16105. Important factors of influence were examined, such as to what extent leaching is dependent on concentration and temperature. This INS project successfully demonstrated that the developed standard EN 16105 is effective and is suitable for estimating biocide emissions from coatings. The standard should serve to optimise the use of biocides in façade coatings, and so reduce manufacturing costs and minimise the level of biocides released into the environment.

The result of the study are summarised in the following publication: (Leaching of biocides from façade coatings, E. Bagda, N. Borho, U. Schoknecht, European Coatings Journal, 06/2011, S. 33).

The project was sponsored by German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology as part of the innovations in standards programme.

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2010 – Thesis: ‘Mechanisms of leaching from coating materials’ by Dustin Dinse

With his thesis supported by RMI in the summer term of 2010, he is one of seven students across entire Germany to be granted a Max Buchner Research Foundation award for technical chemistry at universities of applied sciences by DECHEMA. This student award honours the best diplomas, master’s and bachelor’s students in technical chemistry and biotechnology at universities of applies science and polytechnics.


Algae and fungae are among the oldest living organisms on earth and need only small amounts of food and water for growth. In damp microclimates, they colonise surfaces and façades. The most effective way of preventing a microbial attack is to use façade coatings that contain biocides as active ingredients. Biocides are lipophilic, i. e. not very soluble in water. Despite this, when it rains a small amount of biocides are washed out of the façade. The aim of the thesis was to explain the fundamental processes and mechanisms of biocide leaching from façade coatings by using model substances (dyes) in order to optimise coatings.


The study tested different paints as model substances in the laboratory and conducted additional outdoor exposure experiments. The model simulations mean that laborious measurements can in future be replaced with calculations. “The study has the potential to optimise necessary coatings more quickly and easily so that they contain as many biocides as are necessary for surface protection and as few biocides as possible in the interests of the environment. The results and calculations presented in the thesis create a solid basis for this opportunity to optimise coatings,” according to the appraisal.

Dustin Dinse also received the Possehl Foundation ‘Possehl sponsorship award’ for his thesis. This was the 29th time that the Possehl Foundation recognised the best interdisciplinary graduate theses from all the universities of applied sciences in Lübeck. The awards were presented in the Audience Hall of Lübeck Town Hall in a celebration with 100 guests from politics and business.

2010 – Outdoor tests to validate standard EN 16105

In 2009 and 2010, RMI conducted outdoor tests on the leaching behaviour of substances from façade coatings and determined the volume of façade discharge water on test pieces exposed to outdoor influences. The research was financed by the German Association of Varnish and Printing Ink Industry.

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