Early in my career as a professional painter, I took for granted the importance of consistency in the paint I was using. I suppose I never thought about the quality control processes that must exist to ensure that every gallon or quart of a paint produced at the factory maintained the intended chemical and physical properties. If the label said the formula and color were correct and the mixer said it was correct, who was I to second guess things?
*The Chemistry Corner is a regular series about the innovation and development of the chemical elements of paint, coatings, substrates, and industrial paint tools that the paint professional encounters on a daily basis. Check back weekly for another installment of the Chemistry Corner or take a few minutes to read some of our other articles about the commercial paint profession.*
*Rise of the Machines is a weekly article series that discusses and details technological advances in the professional painting sector. Check back each week for a new installment!*
At least once a week I am asked for my view on the new technology being introduced in the commercial painting sector. Friends and colleagues ask my opinion on new products, often wondering, “Would this product save me time or money?” or “Is this new product going to help me do a better job and keep my customers happy?” Some ask if I’ve used a certain new sprayer or reviewed a specific new compressor. Others ask me my view on new automated processes and wonder if robots are a threat to the commercial painting professional.
Many tools take on peculiar shapes and sizes. Tools found in the industrial paint sector are no exception. One of the unique tools utilized by paint professionals is the Interchemical Gage. The interchemical, or “IC” Gage looks like a bulky pizza cutter to those that are unfamiliar with its proper usage. Interchemical gages are also sometimes known as Inmont Wet Film Gages or “Wet Film Wheels.”
Chances are good that you already know what viscosity is, but you’ve probably never needed to put the definition into words. Quite simply, viscosity is the measure of the thickness of a liquid. More specifically, viscosity is the resistance offered by a fluid to outside stress placed upon it. More viscous fluids are thought of as “thicker,” while less viscous fluids are usually considered “thinner.” For example, syrup is more viscous than water, and oil is more viscous then vinegar. Absolute, or dynamic, viscosity is the resistance a fluid offers to flow when placed next to another fluid moving at a given speed. Kinematic viscosity is the measure of a fluid’s absolute viscosity when divided by its density.
To a person uneducated about the nuances of commercial painting, measuring coating thickness may seem like a simple and straightforward task. In reality, there are a variety of ways to measure the thickness of an applied paint or coating.
It’s a story familiar to everyone in the painting industry: a small company wins a chance to make a big impression with a new customer only to see their hard work be for naught when they unexpectedly run out of paint. Despite planning meticulously, the team wonders what went wrong and how this costly mistake could have happened. It isn’t hard to imagine this hypothetical. A commercial painting company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa wins a contract from the local school district. The work was straightforward: repainting the classrooms of two elementary schools and one middle-school over a holiday break. The painting company agreed to provide the materials and the work to complete the job before school resumed. The job began without delay with each painter working to do the best work possible, hoping their commitment to excellent service would lead to even more work from the school district.