Powder coating is one of the most popular finishing techniques in metal fabrication and other industries. It has many benefits over conventional finishing methods, including efficiency, durability, cost-effectiveness, quality, environmental friendliness and versatility in options. As the name implies, the technique involves applying dry powder electrostatically on surfaces like metal, plastic and concrete, then curing it under heat to create high-quality finishes. Generally, powder coating can be done in two primary ways: thermoplastic powder coating and thermoset powder coating. Here is an in-depth guide into these two powder coating techniques to help you select the right one for your needs.
How They Are Formed Or Manufactured
Understanding how thermoplastic and thermoset powder coatings are formed or manufactured is the first step to identifying the best for your application. Thermoplastic powder coatings are made from synthetic materials. Examples include nylon, polyvinyl chloride and vinyl powder coatings. These coatings are usually preferred for corrosion prevention purposes. On the other hand, thermoset powder coatings are manufactured through a cross-linking process where two or more elements react chemically. Examples include epoxy, polyester, acrylic and silicone powder coatings. They are primarily used in the appliance and automotive industries.
Cost is a critical component to keep in mind when deciding between thermoplastic and thermoset powder coatings. Generally, thermoplastic powder coatings tend to be more expensive than their thermoset counterparts. Therefore, if you are looking for a more economical option, go for thermoset powder coatings.
Temperature and Chemical Resistance
It would also help to think about temperature resistance when choosing thermoplastic or thermoset powder coatings. This is important because you need an option that can withstand the working temperatures in your application. Since thermoplastic powder coatings are made from synthetic materials, they are most susceptible to heat or high temperatures than their thermoset counterparts. Therefore, they are not ideal for applications in high-temperature environments because they can melt. However, thermoplastic powder coatings tend to be more chemically resistant than thermoset powder coatings. They are also more impact resistant.
Recyclability is another critical component to consider when choosing between thermoplastic and thermoset powder coatings. Generally, thermoplastic powder coatings are highly recyclable compared to their thermoset counterparts. That's because thermoplastic powder coating can soften and melt at high temperatures. That means the coatings can be recycled easily by remoulding or reshaping them. On the other hand, thermoset powder coatings are usually irreversible once they cure and cool. Therefore, recycling these coatings is typically challenging.