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Panel: Steve Risotto
Media: Sarah Scruggs

In paints, solvents dissolve or disperse different components used in the paint formulation (such as pigment and resin), making paint the desired consistency for application. Once paint is applied, the solvent evaporates, allowing resin and pigment to produce a film of paint (a coat) and dry rapidly. The use of solvents in paints provides a variety of effective choices among durable and decorative coatings and glossy paints for indoor and outdoor uses. 

In the production of paints and coatings, three new technologies have emerged: waterborne, powder, and high-energy. All of these technologies offer different technical and performance attributes, depending on application needs. For many applications, however, solvent-based coatings have clear performance advantages or are the only effective option. This is the primary reason why solvent-based coatings still account for approximately 65% of the industrial coatings used in the United States.

Read this Solvents Industry Group article on coatings for a detailed discussion of both performance tradeoffs and environmental issues related to coating technologies.


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