What exactly are additives, and what do they do?
Additives. It’s one of our product lines at allnex, but you may be asking yourself, what are they exactly? What do they do?
Morris Bingham, Americas Business Development Manager for Additives, decided to organize a “Lunch and Learn” in our Alpharetta office to explain exactly that.
“One of our newer employees was asking questions about Additives, and I figured it would be a great chance to educate others,” says Morris. “I think too often we all get involved in the details of our own job and BU and don’t really look around to understand the bigger picture of what we do at allnex and how it all ties together. This was a great opportunity to share that with others in the office.”
To begin, Morris shared the major components for a typical consumer paint:
- Pigment – provides color & hiding (opacity)
- Binder (resin) – a polymer, often referred to as a resin, which provides adhesion and durability to the paint against wear, chemical, and environmental challenges. Additionally, it forms a matrix to hold the pigment in place. In other words, it holds all the ingredients together in a homogenous mixture and keeps them from separating.
- Extender – pigments that support the binder in enhancing durability, cost and resistance to corrosion or wear.
- Solvent (sometimes called a thinner) – either an organic solvent or water is used to reduce the viscosity (thickness) of the paint for better application. Waterborne solvents are more common now in replacing some paints that used volatile organic compounds in the past which are harmful to the atmosphere.
- And finally, Additives. Additives are used to modify the properties of the liquid paint or dry film – more on that below.
While you may think additives aren’t a major need in paint, you’d be amazed at how necessary additives are in the products we make. Below are just a few examples of types and what they do:
- Dispersants – separates and stabilized pigment particles. Colorants tend to come in ‘agglomerates’ (like a chunk of color), so a dispersant wets the agglomerates & separates them into primary color particles, giving the paint a better, more true color.
- Flow & Leveling – Silicone technology is often used to improve leveling and provide slip when desired. Ever have brush strokes show in your painted wall? That’s a lack of leveling in the paint. Slip additives protect the finish of the paint – for example, if one painted part rubs against another during assembly or handling, this prevents paint damage to either piece.
- Thixotropic agents (pronounced thick-so-tro-pick) is what prevents pigments from settling in the paint can, helps paint have a better ‘flow’ – less paint drips and runs and a nice ‘feel’ when the paint is being applied.
- Driers – just what it sounds like, and lets the paint dry faster. In the past, lead was used to do this (lead-based paint = NOPE), then was replaced by Cobalt, which also isn’t healthy. Cobalt-free driers offer the quick drying time without any harmful side effects.
- Defoamers – ever paint something and you see bubbles or a texture-like surface after that you didn’t want? Defoamers simply remove the ‘foam’ or air from the shaken paint to give a smooth finish at the end.
- Bactericides, fungicides and algaecides – an important addition for exterior paint or paint in high-humidity areas, keeping away molds, algae and lichen.
We hope by sharing the highlights from the Lunch and Learn you’ve gained a bit more knowledge about Additives and what they do. Should you have additional questions, please contact Morris Bingham.