Paint Additives

July 3, 2008

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Additives are the most diverse components of paint. By selecting the right additives, a painting and coating contractor can set the desired properties of the paint. Here are some interesting additive materials, along with the special properties that they impart to a paint or coating product.

Mineral spirits are occasionally added to alkyd paints to improve their penetrating ability. This is often a concern when the paint is applied to a porous surface such as wood. Mineral spirits also help the paint spread more easily.

Ceramic additives can help control heating in a structure. The ceramic material reflects sunlight from the exterior of the building, thus reducing the thermal load on the building’s HVAC system. The same reflective qualities keep heat inside a building.

Silicone additives can bring a host of positive benefits to the paint, including improved adhesion, moisture resistance, mar resistance and anti-foaming properties. Silicon additives can also impart high gloss to paint. Related compounds called siloxanes improve spread and wetting characteristics of paints and coatings.

Microspheres are a very advanced paint additive which has so far been used in the aerospace and automobile industries. The glass microspheres grant a number of desirable properties to paint in high performance environments, including reduced weight.

Pyrolytic paint additives grant flame retardant qualities to paint. Pyrolytic compounds depend on a chemical reaction to produce an extinguishing effect in the presence of heat or flame.

Coming Up: What makes paint glossy?

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