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Paint is defined as a liquid chemical compound that becomes solid and opaque after application to a surface. Paint is commonly used for art and decoration, but new formulations have been used for insulation, reflectivity, and electrical transmission.
The three basic components of paint are: Pigment, Binder, and Solvent.
- The Pigment is the color of the paint. It is normally derived from another source, natural or synthetic, and is a granular solid that fixes with the other components to form an opaque surface.
- The Binder is the liquid-to-solid part of the paint that adheres to a surface and holds its structure together while the paint hardens. They are also natural or synthetic and there are several versions that harden in different ways; additionally, the Binder allows the paint to either Dry or Cure, which are different processes depending on evaporation or polymerization.
- The Solvent is a main component in many paints but it is optional depending on the function of the paint. It adjusts the hardening of the paint and the thickness, and helps to carry the other components. It usually evaporates in the drying or curing process and does not affect the color or opacity of the paint.
Pigments are the substances that give color and opacity to paint coatings. The ancients frequently used vegetable and animal matter to color their paints, but these are of little importance in paint making today. Still used, however, are earth pigments, called natural or mineral pigments. These are obtained from certain earths that are mined, finely ground and refined. But the most commonly used pigments today are chemical ones.
The vehicle is that part of the paint that carries the pigment. It may consist of oils or varnishes. Drying oils that are used in paint vehicles have the property of converting from a liquid to a solid state when exposed to the oxygen of the air. The paint vehicle thus dries and hardens when it contacts the air. The resulting hard film holds the pigment on the painted surface.
Perhaps the most common thinners for paint are either water or turpentine. These are added to thin the paint to the proper viscosity or thickness for easy spreading on a surface. Although thinners, too, might be considered part of the vehicle, they function somewhat differently in a paint. They begin to evaporate after application of the paint on a surface, leaving the film-forming material exposed for permanent drying.
Paint additives often include compounds of lead, manganese or cobalt. These accelerate the drying of the paint.
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