Pearlescent Pigments in Waterborne Systems

Manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to differentiate their products and to more effectively attract the consumer's attention. This drive for differentiation is causing a major move for the inclusion of special effects in color application for everything from automobiles, consumer electronics, furniture and apparel.

Gone are the days of Henry Ford's quote "I'll give you a car in any color you want as long as it is black." Consumers are savvier today and are looking at aesthetics as well as function. Not only does it have to run well, but it has to look good also. The mainstay of these special effects has always been metallic and pearlescent pigments.

NeoResins offers an assortment of resins, which, when handled properly, can be utilized to offer an array of options and appearances using both metallic and pearlescent pigments in waterborne coatings in a variety of markets, including automotive, consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and architectural.

To help our customers better understand the use of metallic and pearlescent pigments in waterborne coatings, we have compiled the following helpful hints for the use of effect pigments with our products. 

Pearlescent pigments, or "effect pigments" as they are referred to today, offer a limitless array of uses because they are basically inert, non-reactive, and heat and alkaline resistant. Pearlescent pigments are made up of individual, thin, flat crystalline platelets that are coated with titanium dioxide, iron oxide or a combination of both. They are irregular in shape, varying in thickness from 0.1 to 3.0 microns.

Pearlescent pigments are transparent; each crystal reflects only part of the incident light reaching it, and transmits the remainder to the crystal below. This simultaneous reflection of light from these many layers give them their "pearlescence", or color, by high interference.

Several key areas to observe when handling pearlescenct pigments in waterborne systems are high shear, hiding and gloss. The process of formulating a waterborne pearlescent system should be a lot easier and less problematic. Our ultimate goal is to help our customers meet their customers' needs with quality products.

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