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Influencing the surface tension of coatings

Feb 12, 2014

The surface tension of the liquid coating is primarily defined by the selection of the resins and the solvents; the pigments have no influence. In practice, however, selection of these raw materials is normally not based on their surface tension but on other properties. Resins are selected regarding, e.g., their cross-linking mechanism, the required chemical resistance and the mechanical properties of the dry film. For the solvents it is important that they can easily dissolve the resins in questions; other properties which have to be observed are their evaporation behaviour, their flash point and getting more and more attention in these days - their ecological performance.

Therefore it is very convenient to control the surface tension of the liquid paint independently from other raw materials by suitable additives. It was shown above that improvement of substrate wetting requires a reduction of the surface tension of the coating. Additives which can do exactly this are polysiloxanes and fluoro surfactants. Polysiloxanes modified in many ways (“silicone additives”) have found broader usage than the fluoro compounds. Silicone additives are very versatile products and they are used in coatings for more reasons than just surface tension reduction (e.g., surface slip, leveling, defoaming).

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