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Rheology Modifiers Selection for Paints & Coatings

Rheology modifiers are vital additives used in almost every coating. Choosing the right rheology modifier for your formulation can be complex keeping in view the existing VOC regulations. This selection guide will help you select the right rheology modifier for your coating formulation. It will first detail the chemistries available for waterborne and solvent borne coatings. It will also uncover benefits and limitations as well as suitable applications.

Rheology Modifiers: Additive Overview

Rheology ModifiersAs you know, rheology is crucial for the success of your paint at every step: manufacturing, storage and final application. In both solvent-based and waterborne formulations, rheology modifiers (also called thickeners) help to achieve the desired rheological behavior.

Rheology modifiers help in controlling paint shelf stability, ease of application, open time/ wet edge and sagging. They influence leveling, settling and film forming. Depending on rheology modifiers features and required adjustments, they are added to the mill-base or during let-down.

There is a broad choice of additives that you can use for this purpose. The question is therefore to find the right one!

Chemistries available to control rheology


The primary role of rheology modifiers is obviously to play on the rheology of your coatings (open time / wet edge, sag resistance, leveling, settling, film forming…). Yet, for an optimal selection, you will also have to consider their cost, the compatibility with other additives, their fit with your regulatory constraints (like VOC for example).

Here is a list summing-up the main things to consider when selecting your thickeners:
  • Required rheological properties
    1. Sag resistance
    2. Flow- and levelling
    3. Application performances: spraying, brushing. (brush- drag)
    4. Stability: sedimentation, syneresis
    5. Manufacturing
  • Liquid paint performances
    1. Appearance (transparency, color, stability)
    2. Bio-stability
  • Paint film performance properties
    1. Gloss
    2. Transparency, opacity
    3. Water resistance
    4. Durability
    5. Regulation Compliance

No doubt it’s complex to find the right balance and many will spend hours in trial & error. Instead, read on and get guided in your selection process.
  • Rheology Modifiers for Waterborne Paints & Coatings
  • Rheology Modifiers for Solvent-based Paints & Coatings

Rheology Modifiers
Rheology modifiers

Rheology Modifiers

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