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Material Research: Coatings

Guide explaining the different types of materials and manufacturers.


Architectural paint is the largest segment of the coating industry. Over the last few decades, innovation has resulted in changes to base properties, VOC reduction, chemical removal, improved coverage, more resistance to dirt and rain, and more easy-to-apply properties.

The American Coatings Association provides a good overview of the industry, including history, emulsions. bio-based paints, environmental concerns, antimicrobial additives, low emission products, and more.


Coatings applied during the manufacture of products are known as industrial or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coatings. They are engineered to be protective as well as functional.

Powder coating is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. Applied ectrostatically and then cured under heat or with ultraviolet light, the end result is a very hard, tough finish. The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer.

Marine coatings protect submerged materials from sea water. Their anti-corrosive qualities make them ideal for commercial cargo ships, yachts, and smaller boats.


Automotive paint is not delivered as a finished end product. The paint does not acquire its properties until the various coats have been applied, one after the other, under precisely defined conditions. That is why the application process is especially important for automotive OEM coatings

See the brief history of the technology of automotive coatings for more information.

Scion tC designed by Kei Miura, 2016
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