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What Materials Can Be Powder Coated?

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017 by byersbushblog

When it comes to metal finishes, powder coating is one of the more popular solutions we have today. Despite metal being the most popular material being treated, it should be pointed out that you may also use powder coating on other materials like glass, wood, composites, plastic, and MDF.

powder coating plastic substrates

Whatever the material is, the primary requirement that must be considered is its ability to withstand high temperatures.

Take the case of plastics for example, although many plastic materials can be powder coated, not all plastics can be subjected to temperatures of 400 degrees and above because the material will melt. So you need to take some time to research the temperature threshold of the material you intend to powder coat.

As far as metals are concerned, the approach may vary depending on the type of metal that must be treated. There is no problem if a professional powder coating service will handle the job, but if you intend to do it on your own, additional caution should be exerted. What are some important things to keep in mind?

Coating Materials

powder coating material

How would you powder coat any metal and/or material that can be powder coated? For the powder coating material, normally you will need to create a type of solution that is known as a slurry. This material will contain the coating material in the form of suspended particles. Is this all you will need?

As stated earlier, it may depend on the type of metal or material you will powder coat. This means you may need to include some anticoagulant chemicals to ensure that the particles do not turn into sediments.

This also prevents the particles from sticking to each other and growing bigger. Why do you need to do this? In powder coating, it is vital to ensure the consistency of the composition of the solution so that you can adequately estimate the exposure time.

Once you have the consistency of the solution in check, you can start dipping the material in it and allow it to dry. To come up with a harder coat, you need to expose the material to high temperatures to get a stronger bond from the particles. You need to be cautious with this procedure because of the possibility of the metal being exposed to oxidation.

This brings us back to ensuring the consistency of the composition including the size of the particles of the slurry. If you have the facility or equipment, you can create a heating environment or a vacuum to combat the oxidation of the metal.

Keeping the surface of the metal relatively rough can be an advantage. At times the finish is artificially created to make the oxide layer thinner. This allows better bonding especially when dealing with ceramic materials that can be treated with plasma or some type of electrolytic process.

Non-Metallic Materials

powder coating gas oven

(source: hartleycorp.com)

How can you powder coat non-metallic items when they aren’t electrically conductive? The great thing with powder coating is that it can treat almost all types of materials. How can it be done if the material is not electrically conductive?

In powder coating, the powder will be electrostatically charged to allow it to stick to the metal that in turn will be grounded. If you are using wood, glass, plastic, or some type of material that is not electrically conductive, you cannot just spray the powder on the material because it will fall off. What do you do?

The common solution is to preheat the material before spraying on the powder. You will need an oven to do this. You need to makes sure that you completely coat the material before it totally cools off. As the powder comes in contact with the heated material, it will slightly melt allowing it to stick. Once the material has been completely coated, put it back into the oven – this time for curing.

Some words of caution with powder coating preheated materials. Be careful not to put a coating that is too thick because it can start running like paint. When this happens, the finish may have some craters it in making it susceptible to chipping and affect its strength.

This brings us to an alternative method that is known as hot-flocking. In this method you will heat the material using the curing temperature, which is about 400 degrees. You then need to remove the item from the oven and immediately spray it with the powder coat.

The good thing with this method is that the powder will instantly meld and flow making it easier to apply. The problem is that since the powder immediately flows, it can be difficult to see if the coating is already too thick.

Not everyone knows that powder coating can be done on a variety of materials. The reality is that powder coating regardless of the material can result in beautiful and strong finishes; provided that the process is done correctly.

Sheet Metal

powder coating for metal

What is the difference between coated and non-coated parts in sheet metal? Basically, when dealing with coated part of any type of strip or sheet metal, you are simply using metals that are supposed to be free from corrosion. The role of the powder coat is to improve the resistance to corrosion of the material and increase its lifecycle.

What are some of the coating methods that can be used to keep corrosion at bay and improve the service life of the material?

  • For electro galvanized steel sheets, electrolytically coating it with zinc coils;
  • If you have a galvannealed steel sheet powder coating can deliver excellent resistance to blistering or peeling of any paint coat. This can increase the corrosion resistance substantially compared to any type of conventional galvanized steel sheet;
  • Hot dipping is another method that can be used on galvanized steel to improve its appearance and strength;
  • When dealing with materials that come in contact with food or food preparation, you need to be extra careful. Tin coating is normally done to as a way prevent poison from getting into the food and limit waste; and
  • Then of course you have the conventional paints that can also be used for various coating purposes.

What about non-coated sheet materials? How do coat these types of materials? Most of the time the coating process remains the same to that of coated materials. The main difference though is that some non-coated sheet materials may face weight problems.

For aluminum or copper alloys and other similar metals, powder coating may not be the way to go. Why? These materials are already strong enough and possess high quality corrosion resistance. The same can be said with stainless steel materials. This however, does not mean that you cannot use powder coating on these.

To get the right and best coating solutions, contact Bryers Bush Powder Coating today!

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