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topic 654

How to determine what kind of paint is on an item


I have a client who makes accessories for painters, who I've been advising on their plating issues. He has now sent me a competitor's roller frame (the handle you put paint rollers on). This unit is painted rather than plated. It has a fairly thick, quite shiny, black painted finish. I think it's actually a powder coated finish, just from the look of it, but here's the real question...

How do I find out what it is? (Polyester, epoxy, whatever). Presumably there are labs that test hardness, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, and perhaps do a AA spectrophotometry analysis?

The customer has asked for advantages/disadvantages of this compared to plating, and I can do that part, but it might ring a bit hollow if I don't know exactly what it is I'm looking at here. Thanks.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Probably the best way to find some kind of information would be infra-red spectroscopy. To know for sure would require lots of testing

Stephen Harris

Have someone with an FTIR examine the painted surface. The IR should be able to differentiate between the various organic types of coating. Many times there is a microscope attachment that permits direct examination of the surface so that you don't have to chip off a piece to examine it.

There are also solvent and flame tests that can narrow it down, but the time it would take might be more than the cost of a quick IR scan. If you want a copy of our plastics identification test flow charts, call me and I can fax it to you.

Gordy Seppanen
materials engineer - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks so much, gentlemen.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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