The secrets of drying paint

What exactly happens to paint when it dries? Ellard Hooiveld, PhD candidate at Wageningen University, recently published his research in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. Together with his colleagues and Nouryon, he studied how the different particles in paint organise themselves, and why.

Generally speaking, Ellard tries to find a way to make paint that can coat objects in just one layer. This saves time, energy, and most importantly: paint. However, in order to make paint that fully coats in one layer, it is important to understand exactly how paint works, and what happens when it dries up.

When paint dries, multiple processes happen at the same time. However, it is hard to say which processes have the upper hand, and which processes play a less significant role. Therefore, it is not easy to predict how different particles within the paint will behave when paint dries. Ellard used a method to follow how particles organize themselves during different stages of the drying process: from wet to dry. In this way, he can analyse the behaviour of the particles.

This understanding of the formation of different layers in drying paint brings us closer to being able to paint objects in just one layer.

An animation of paint in the process of drying