COATINGS as thin Surfacing
Post 482 by Gautam Shah
Coatings are thin surfacing with or without a colourant additive. The colourant if present, may be transparent, translucent or opaque. Coatings consist of many different components, such as a film forming substance, and additives like, colourant, reactive agents, solvents etc. In a very complex coating composition such clear-cut distinctions are not apparent, because film forming substances and additives serve purposes beyond their nominal roles. Historically coatings were created as art medium for illustrative and decorative effects. These then began to be used to alter the appearance, improve the tangibility and to provide a protective cover to objects and human body.
Coatings are used for 1 changing the quality of the existing surface, and 2 applied as a permanent cover over an object. In the first case the changes are just few molecules deep, like: removal of few molecules of the object or some products from the surface section, rearrangement of the molecules, varied chemical formulation. In second case a composition is applied as a permanent coating, through bonding processes like adhesion, cohesion, chain linking, and material-phase change, intermolecular interactions including van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonds and strong covalent bonds.
Surface Treatments form a very important section of coating technology. Some surface treatments are temporary and are removed once the required action is accomplished, others remain as full or partial deposition. Many surface treatments serve specific purposes such as cleaning, roughening, smoothening, etching, moisture proofing, rust inhibiting, air barriers, static arresters etc. Some others only facilitate the application, setting or drying of the coating.
Traditional Coatings are usually liquids of low solids content. These first ‘dried’ by evaporation of substantial content of organic solvents, and later ‘set or hardened through oxidation and long chain formation. This technology began to fad out with use of Plastic or latex paints. These are applied as aqueous dispersions or water-based emulsion of polymers. Now formulations are also solvent less or powder coatings.
At application-stage the film-forming mediums are in various phases such as liquid, solid or vapour, or a combination thereof like, suspensions, solutions, dispersions, emulsions, thermoplastic compounds, thixotropic compounds, etc., but coatings once applied ultimately settle to a heavier phase, usually (but not necessarily) a solid phase.
At an application stage a lower phase helps in many ways. Mainly due to liquid state there is uniform and thin level of application. Liquid state of the material permits better dispersion of costly or rare constituents. During application the integrity (thorough dispersion of constituents) can be maintained. Energy required for application of coating is very small. Liquid coatings can be formulated for varied but controlled deposition and rate of phase conversion, to match the substrate and environmental conditions.
Coatings form a continuous film and so do not have joints, except at junctions where coating application is delayed (a dried out portion and a fresh coat touch each other or overlap). Coatings are thin surfacing so the coated entity remains malleable, and allow the post-forming operations (e.g. coated metal sheets). A coating film has a thickness ranging from 0.0005 to 0.5 mm (0.00002 to 0.02 inch). Coatings are deposited on the entity by many different techniques such as daubing, brushing, spraying, screen printing, roller coating, and dipping.