Pigments in Paint

cans with purple, pink, white and lavender paint

Paint pigments

Paint is both aesthetic and functional to the substrate it is coating. Paint is a necessary coating that provides protection to the underlying good for a number of industries we serve.

These paint solutions are tailor-made to properly suit different applications for client projects and commercial products. Creating coatings and paint is an exact science, no guessing game, requiring proper instruction is mandatory for desirable and safe results.

In creating paint products, it is helpful to understand what is in a can of paint.

In this article you will learn:

  • What is in a Can of Paint
  • The Importance of Paint Pigments
  • Pigments Found in Paint
  • Organic Pigments vs. Inorganic Pigments

Painting a wooden shelf using paintbrush

What is in a can of paint?

Canned paint mostly refers to liquid coating. However, other forms include the following:

  • Water borne: Emulsions/water reducible liquids
  • Solvent borne: Non-aqueous solids/liquids
  • 100% systems: Liquids using reactive monomers
  • Powder coatings: Solid materials

A can of paint will have a mixture of binders, solvents, pigments, and additives that provide underneath product protection while aesthetically designed to avoid such things as undesired product peeling or application inconsistency. To help you further understand the components of a paint can, the following guide breaks down the four categories of the mixture:

  • Pigments: Provide color and texture to solid components. Pigments deliver
    protection to surfaces and enhance durability.
  • Binders: Actively work to keep pigments together in a liquid suspension.
    Binders extend the life of paint after its drying for ultimate performance.
  • Solvents: Solvents allow paint to travel from the can to a given surface. They
    carry pigments and binders accordingly.
  • Additives: Improve paint spreading capabilities and keep paint character
    acting as it should (flow, leveling, and more).

mixed ink

The importance of paint pigments

Pigments often make up a large percentage of original paint blends and products. Pigments consist of organic and inorganic materials provide the following benefits to paint:

  • A solid base for binder reactions
  • Resistance to ultraviolet light
  • Powerful coating for surfaces
  • Added color, texture, and physical properties

Pigments found in paint

Paint pigments narrow down to organic and inorganic types. Organic pigments include carbon compounds and are responsible for a broad number of colors across commercial products. Common organic pigments from animal and vegetable origins include the following:

  • Alizarin: Yellow, orange, and red shades
  • Phthalocyanine: Blue and green shades
  • Quinacridone: Violet shades

Painting the swimming pool

Inorganic pigments

Inorganic pigments derive from mineral origins and are considered metal compounds. These pigments are siennas, umbers, and ochres that form within clays in the Earth. They can be synthetically created to produce signature colors such as "cobalt blue" and "titanium white."

Organic pigments vs. Inorganic pigments

Whether pigments are sold naturally or synthetically will alter results in consumer products. Natural pigments are generally less expensive and originate from silica, mica, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, and clays. Synthetic pigments include synthetic molecules such as calcined clay, pyrogenic silica, and blanc fixe for tougher products.

No matter which pigments you use for paint, remember that pigment volume concentrate (PVC) alters appearance. A low PVC results in a gloss finish, and a high PVC provides a flat look when dry.

Read more about organic pigments vs. inorganic pigments

Contact us for your paint pigment needs

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