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Understanding Thermoplastic Technology and Its Benefits

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by byersbushblog

Powder coating is an excellent way to protect metal surfaces that are subject to regular weathering or abuse, but there are two types of coats that can be applied today. There is the thermoplastic type and the thermoset type. Each has its own benefits but most people focus on thermoset powder coating without understanding the merits of thermoplastic technology. Learning about thermoplastic technology and why the coating is different in the first place can help you understand why you’d want to use it and why on many instances it’s superior to the more well-known thermoset coating.

How it Works

Thermoplastic powder coating is a pretty simple process compared to how the more complicated thermoset coating works. The powder is given a positive electrical charge and the metal to be coated is grounded. The material is naturally attracted and once applied it sticks in place. The final step to complete the coating is applying a high level of heat to the exterior coating. The material then fuses into a solid layer of protection for your material and the application is finished. No chemical reaction needs to take place to complete the process, which leaves the final product looking similar to the initial material.

Creating a Thicker Coating

Because of the way this application process works, thermoplastic coatings are almost always thicker than thermoset coatings are. The material has longer fibers that result in a bulkier size, and since a chemical reaction isn’t needed to create the finished coat there is more flexibility over how thick of a layer can be created using thermoplastic. This thicker layer is softer and more pliable than a thermoset coating, which makes it more resistant to chipping or cracking. The material isn’t very brittle, and is instead highly resilient to impacts. While thermoset needs to be very thin to function properly, thermoplastic technology allows the coating to be much thicker if desired.

Major Benefits of Thermoplastic Coatings

There are a couple noticeable benefits that come with using thermoplastic coatings. The first is that you get more impact resistance with the thicker and more pliable coating. A hard impact would be likely to mar the surface of the material, but the overall coating would remain intact and provide protection. Imagine that some work is being performed on your deck and during the construction process one of the workers slams his hammer down on the bottom of your railing. A thermoset coating would shatter on impact and leave behind a noticeable chip that begins letting the elements get to the more delicate surface underneath, while thermoplastic would simply dent and bend inward while maintaining protection.

The second benefit is the high level of chemical and temperature resistance that the coating provides. Frigid temperatures don’t make the material brittle and it still provides ample protection even when temperatures drop down below freezing. While all forms of powder coating protect against corrosion, thermoplastic coatings are particular resistant and are more desirable when you’re using them in areas around the sea that are susceptible to high levels of corrosion.  They withstand salt spray tests more effectively over the long-term than alternative powder coating protection does.

It’s important to realize that thermoplastic technology, and the resulting powder coating is not the best solution for every problem, but for some its undoubtedly superior to thermoset coatings. If you want a coating that you can rely on even in icy cold temperatures or high impact locations then thermoplastic is the way to go.

Powder coating is a reliable way to extend the life of metal products but it’s also pretty complex. If you’d like an issue clarified or you simply have some questions to ask about your next upcoming project the experts at Byers Bush have the experience to answer anything you’re wondering.

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