Editorial July 2022 About the Paint Industry Part 1

Rajiv Parikh

15 Jul 2022

Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, color, or provide texture. Paint can be made in many colors—and in many different types. Paint is typically stored, sold, and applied as a liquid, but most types dry into a solid. Most paints are either oil-based or water-based and each has distinct characteristics. For one, it is illegal in most municipalities to discard oil-based paint down household drains or sewers. Clean-up solvents are also different for water-based paint than they are for oil-based paint. Water-based paints and oilbased paints will cure differently based on the outside ambient temperature of the object being painted (such as a house.) In 1866, Sherwin-Williams in the United States opened as a large paint-maker and invented a paint that could be used from the tin without preparation. It was not until the stimulus of World War II created a shortage of linseed oil in the supply market that artificial resins, or alkyds, were invented. Cheap and easy to make, they also held the color well and lasted for a long time

The vehicle is composed of the binder; or, if it is necessary to thin the binder with a diluent like solvent or water, it is the combination of binder and diluents. In this case, once the paint has dried or cured very nearly all of the diluent has evaporated and only the binder is left on the coated urface. Thus, an important quantity in coatings formulation is the "vehicle solids", sometimes called the "resin solids" of the formula. This is the proportion of the wet coating weight that is binder, i.e. the polymer backbone of the film that will remain after drying or curing is complete.

The binder is the film-forming component of paint.It is the only component that is always present among all the various types of formulations. Many binders are too thick to be applied and must be thinned. The type of thinner, if present, varies with the binder. The binder imparts properties such as gloss, durability, flexibility, and toughness. Binders include synthetic or natural resins such as alkyds, acrylics, vinyl-acrylics, vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE), polyurethanes, polyesters, melamine resins, epoxy, silanes or siloxanes or oils. Binders can be categorized according to the mechanisms for film formation. Thermoplastic mechanisms include drying and coalescence. Drying refers to simple evaporation of the solvent or thinner to leave a coherent film behind. Coalescence refers to a mechanism that involves drying followed by actual interpenetration and fusion of formerly discrete particles. Thermoplastic film-forming mechanisms are sometimes described as "thermoplastic cure" but that is a misnomer because no chemical curing reactions are required to knit the film. Thermosetting mechanisms, on the other hand, are true curing mechanism that involve chemical reaction(s) among the polymers that
make up the binder.

Thermoplastic mechanisms: Some films are formed by simple cooling of the binder. For example, encaustic or wax paints are liquid when warm, and harden upon cooling. In many cases, they re-soften or liquify if reheated. Paints that dry by solvent evaporation and contain the solid binder dis-solved in a solvent are known as lacquers. A solid film forms when the solvent evaporates. Because no chemical crosslinking is involved, the film can re-dissolve in solvent; as such, lacquers are unsuitable for applications where chemical resistance is important. Classic nitrocellulose lacquers fall into this category, as do non-grain raising stains composed of dyes dissolved in solvent. Performance varies by formulation, but lacquers generally tend to have better UV resistance and lower corrosion resistance than comparable systems that cure by polymerization or coalescence. The paint type known as Emulsion in the UK and Latex in the United States is a water-borne dispersion of sub-micrometer polymer particles. These terms in their respective countries cover all paints that use synthetic polymers such as acrylic, vinyl acrylic (PVA), styrene acrylic, etc. as binders. The term "latex" in the context of paint in the United States simply means an aqueous dispersion; latex rubber from the rubber tree is not an ingredient. These dispersions are prepared by emulsion polymerization. Such paints cure by a process called coalescence where first the water, and then the trace, or coalescing, solvent, evaporate and draw together and soften the binder particles and fuse them together into irreversibly bound networked structures, so that the paint cannot redissolve in the solvent/water that originally carried it. The residual surfactants in paint, as well as hydrolytic effects with some polymers cause the paint to remain susceptible to softening and, over time, degradation by water. The general term of latex paint is usually used in the United States, while the term emulsion paint is used for the same products in the UK and the term latex paint is not used at all. (to be continued)


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