Mixing Multi-Component Coatings Materials: Induction Time and Pot Life

Posted by Ben Shterengarts on Feb 28, 2024 8:07:19 AM
Ben Shterengarts
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Understanding and following the manufacturer's written guidelines and technical data sheets are essential to achieve the best application of coating possible. Focusing on critical factors, such as choosing the right type of coating, surface preparation, and application methods will ensure everything is done correctly. By doing so, you can be confident you'll get the desired results and have a coating that looks great and performs well in its environment.

Here, we'll discuss the importance of adequately mixing multi-component coatings before application. When mixing single-component coatings, the applicator brings them to a uniform color or condition. However, when mixing multi-component coatings, the process is more involved.

Let's take a look.


What are Multi-Component Coatings?

Multi-component coatings consist of two or more separately packaged parts. Each part of the coating system is a different chemical material; additionally, the chemicals are pre-measured to meet a specific ratio. The parts create a chemical reaction, producing a final product with specific physical and performance characteristics.

It is crucial to precisely follow the manufacturer's technical data sheet and mixing instructions when preparing the coating, as this step is just as vital as the actual application process. The final product and material properties of the coating are contingent on how well the components react. It's critical to adhere as closely as possible to the mixing instructions, ensuring there are no shortcuts or missed steps. This includes respecting induction time and operating within the material's listed pot life. Remember some manufacturers may require you to pre-mix each component separately to achieve uniform conditions before blending them.

Related Article: Mixing CIM Premix and Activator


Coating Pot Life and Induction Time

The product data sheets specify the mixing time required and the equipment recommended for the process. For example, the mixing time of the CIM's two-component membrane product is three minutes. Once the mixing is done, the coating's pot life or working time begins. Using the coating within the recommended pot life is essential; this is typically based on 70°F. Keep in mind that the outside temperature influences the pot life of the coating. Generally, higher temperatures shorten the pot life of the coating while lower temperatures result in a longer pot life.

Applying the coating after the pot's expiration can impact the adhesion between the coating and substrate and adversely affect performance. A piece of advice: if the pot life has expired, put the can aside and start with a new one.


Induction Time Explained

Some two-component coatings need a little break after mixing the activator into the base material. This break (commonly called ‘sweat-in time’ or induction time) allows the activator the time to react with the base before the coating is applied. Following the manufacturer’s specified induction time is important to allow the two components to complete their chemical reaction and ensure the proper cure of the coating system.  

When using coatings in colder temperatures, check with the manufacturer if they recommend an induction period. And remember, if the technical data sheet specifies an induction period, this period is factored into the pot life of the mixed coating.


Mixing Multi-Component Coatings

A powerful electric or pneumatic drill with an attached mixing blade is a good practice to achieve a uniform product. It is also imperative to use a drill with the required RPMs and the recommended mixing paddle type and size to ensure the consistent blending of each product. An undermixed coating can result in an improperly cured coating, leading to a coating failure. Overmixing cuts into your pot-life lifetime.

Do you need guidance or insight on high-performance, multi-component coating systems? Don't worry; we've got you covered! Our technical support team at Chase Corporation is always here to help. Contact us today and let us assist you in making the most of our unique products.

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Topics: Mixing techniques, Multi-component Coatings

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