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Chemistry science fair project:
Graffiti Removal




Project Information
Title: Graffiti Removal
Subject: Chemistry
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 1st Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($400)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2013
Materials: Spray paints, marker pens, isopropyl alcohol, palmolive oxy degreaser, Goo Gone cleaner, timer
Description: Four different chemicals were tested for their effectiveness in removing graffiti from siding, wood, and metal. Further questions: How much does each graffiti removal cost? Which type of graffiti is harder to remove and why? which removal method works the best?
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2013/brow13m
Short Background

Graffiti Removal Methods

Paint Out: This method involves painting over the graffiti, so that it can no longer be seen. This is considered a low costs method and has historically been used widely by governments. However, over time the negative effects of this removal method begin to surface. Although effective for already painted walls, this removal option often leads to poor results on other surfaces, as it appears out of place and develops a "patchwork effect" on the surface. Furthermore if this method is used regularly on the same wall or surface, the paint begins to peel, leading to the method being an ineffective long term strategy for graffiti removal.

Chemical Removal: This method actually removes the graffiti in earnest. These are cleaning products with active chemicals which remove the graffiti from the surface. These methods are largely effective, however, with poor application of the chemical, this approach has been found to damage the surface, especially painted surfaces. In these cases the paint along with the graffiti is stripped, leading to a poor result. In addition, the increasing prevalence of environmental sustainability makes this method an increasingly outdated method of removal.

Environmentally Sustainable Removal: This method involves using organic products which remove the graffiti from the surface. These are a new generation of product and are beginning to be adopted by graffiti removal provider in larger cities, such as Sydney. This approach is a comparable in cost to a chemical or paint out removal, and often have the benefit of lower or no safety and health risk.

An anti-graffiti coating is a coating that prevents graffiti paint from bonding to surfaces. Cleaning graffiti from buildings costs billions of dollars annually. Many cities have started anti-graffiti programs but amorphous expressionism is still a problem. Companies across the globe are attempting to develop coatings to prevent artists from adjusting public and private property. The coatings being developed can be the paint itself, or a clear coat added on top of existing paint or building facades. Depending on the substrate and the severity of graffiti, different coatings give different benefits and disadvantages.

Graffiti abatement is a joint effort between a given community; its public works division; police department; community development; and parks, recreation, and community services to eliminate graffiti vandalism. In an effective graffiti abatement program, hot spots areas frequently targeted by graffiti vandals are checked regularly, with the overall goal of removing graffiti as soon as possible. The reasoning given is, that graffiti is an expensive burden for a community, as it lowers property values, generates repair costs and can incite additional criminal activity.

See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_removal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-graffiti_coating

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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Last updated: June 2013
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