Solvent Terminology

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What are solvents?

A solvent is a liquid product with the strength and capability of dissolving another substance. The solute is the substance dissolved in the solvent, thereby forming a solution.

In coatings and construction applications, the solute is typically the resinous binder component of a solution changing its state in forming the solution. Water is by far the most common solvent, but in coatings and construction applications it's rarely called a solvent. Typically, water is known as a diluent – a diluent is a liquid used to dilute the concentration of other liquids. So in summary:

  • Solvent: liquids that dissolve other substances (solutes).
  • Diluent: liquids that dilute the concentrations of other liquids.

Cosolvents & coalescents

A cosolvent is a substance added to a mixture of two or more separate substances, typically miscible in order to make them mixable. Cosolvents are added to increase the solvent power of the primary substance in the mixture.

Cosolvents are coalescing agents – film formers used in dispersion paints and coatings and construction systems for optimizing the film formation process of the polymeric binder particles. Coalescing agents typically reduce the minimal formation temperature and optimize film coherence and properties such as scrub resistance, mechanical properties as well as appearance.

What is VOC?

VOC refers to Volatile Organic Compounds or Volatile Organic Content and is an organic compound is a material containing carbon: it also easily transforms into vapors or gases.

Typical VOC characteristics:

  • Have high vapor pressure at room temperature and evaporate.
  • Are not acutely toxic but have compounding long-term health effects.
  • Concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop; research into VOCs and their effects is difficult.

VOC Exempt Solvents Offering

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Two Basic Properties When Considering a Solvent

  • Solvency is the ability to dissolve something. In coatings, the solvent must
    dissolve the resin and reduce its viscosity so it can be applied (either by spray or brush).
  • Evaporation is necessary as part of the drying process as well as to control
    the coating viscosity at different stages of drying.

Four Common Types of Solvents

  • Aliphatic & Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Manufactured from petroleum: aliphatic solvents include mineral spirits and VM&P Naphtha and aromatic solvents are toluene, xylene, and aromatic 100.
  • Halogenated: Halogenated solvents include methylene chloride and perchloroethylene.
  • Oxygenated: Oxygenated solvents include ketones, esters, alcohols, glycol ethers, and acetates.
  • VOC Exempt: VOC Exempt solvents include acetone, PCBTF, t-butyl acetate, methyl acetate, propylene carbonate, and dimethyl carbonate.

Learn more about solvents by contacting us today

We sell various solvents:

  • Alcohols
  • Aliphatic Solvents
  • Aromatic Solvents
  • Ester Solvents
  • Glycols
  • Glycol Ethers
  • Ketone Solvents
  • VOC Exempt Solvents

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