Weekend painters take for granted that there is a difference between color and haze, sheen and gloss. But professional painters know that the final, dried appearance of a coating is determined not simply by choosing a color finish and getting to work. Different hazes and sheen can affect the final appearance and brilliance of a coating in the same way that different light sources and coating thickness can. Like a maestro conducting an orchestra full of instruments, paint chemists must manipulate and control a number of variables down to the molecular level. Not only are chemists responsible for creating the right paints once, but also for stabilizing them in a way that can be repeated over and over in a production environment.
Most people who aren’t professional painters think discolored paint is an eyesore. Whether it be on an old car driving by or a warehouse they pass on the way to work, cracked and faded paint often leads to people wondering, “Why don’t they repaint that building?” or “That car sure could use a fresh coat of paint.” Most people don’t stop to think about it beyond the noticeable appearance of the item, but professional painters know better. They realize that while aesthetic appearance is important, faded paint is actually an indicator of a bigger problem: the surface below is being irreparably damaged by harmful ultraviolet rays.
Commercial painting plays a pivotal role in the world around us. From the appearance of buildings and automobiles to the protection of structures and machinery, we’ve already covered many of the myriad uses paint has in everyday life here on the Gardner Laboratories blog.
Larry’s paint business had been in service for almost thirty years in East Texas. As his son Carson was growing up, he liked to tag along with his father to jobs around town. Larry did a great job earning repeat business and by the time Carson graduated from college, Larry had more customers then he could handle. Thankfully, Carson had shown interest in the business and was able to step in right away to help. And since so many customers were repeats and the town was fairly small, most of them knew Carson already, and trusted him to do the same quality job as his father.
In marinas everywhere, terrible predators currently reside, just waiting to do damage. They have names like “Styela,” “Undaria,” and “Mediterranean Fanworm.” Their mere presence can disrupt sensitive ecological conditions, disrupt wildlife, and create hazardous swimming and boating conditions for humans as well. Of course, these organisms aren’t large animals lying in wait, but rather examples of a growing subset of species that can cause untold havoc and destruction if not properly addressed. The best way to combat these pests isn’t through harsh chemicals or traps, but rather by using anti-fouling coatings and products to keep an infestation problem from starting in the first place.
Everyone knows that oil and water don’t mix. The viscosity and chemical properties of oil and water are so dissimilar as to make combining them impossible. If you pour a cup of oil in to a pot of water, the oil will sit on top of the water rather then dissolve into it. The differences between the two continue in to the world of professional painting. It used to be that most paint was either water-based or oil-based so understanding the practical applications of each was vital to selecting the right paint and doing a good job. Now, understanding the llegacy of oil-based paint is important for different reasons: new products have been developed that have rendered oil-based paint nearly obsolete. Knowing what made oil-based paint useful is important when seeking a product that replicates that utility just as understanding why oil-based paint has fallen out of favor is key to seeing the future of professional paint products.
Most people that buy a can of paint at a home improvement store lack an appreciation and understanding of what is actually involved in not just the ongoing manufacture of the paint, but the initial development of it as well. Paint companies large and small invest significant time and capital into creating great products for a wide variety of uses. Companies like BYK invest similar amounts of time and resources into making products that help everyone from manufacturers to paint professionals reach their professional goals. So how can you, the modern paint professional, take advantage of these developments?
Did you know that water doesn’t conduct electricity? Really, pure water does not conduct electricity. Rather, the elements and imperfections within the water (such as salt content) break up into positively and negatively charged ions that work to form the closed circuit necessary for conductivity. Paint is the same: in and of itself, it is not conductive.
Furthermore, did you know that color is a the result of what part of the spectrum is reflected off of a surface? So a red car isn’t the color red at all – it’s every color EXCEPT red, since that’s the color that reflects off of it. In this installment of the Chemistry Corner we will be examining some new advancements in color changing paint that rely on electrical conductivity and viewing angle, the applications of these types of paints, and the products available for professional painters to test, measure, and evaluate them.
Once upon a time, the use of paint was limited to two specific purposes: paint existed either as protection for a substrate or as decoration. In recent decades, new additives and mixtures have yielded paint that is capable of not just protection or decoration, but that also has function all its own.
*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.*