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Changing colours: the evolution of effect pigments

SpecialChem / Nov 9, 2005

Metallic shades have now replaced solid colours as the most popular finish for private vehicles in many countries. There is a growing demand for extreme colour effects everywhere from cosmetics and mobile phones to vehicles and even, in some markets, interior and exterior decorative paints, though automotive finishes remain the largest market sector. In the inks market, there are similar demands for enhanced decorative effects, and a distinct market for special pigments to provide some protection against fraud, counterfeiting and unlicensed copying. Effect pigment technologies can conveniently be divided into metallics, multilayer pigments and specialised types. The market for all these pigments is much smaller than for organic or inorganic types, but is growing more rapidly at an estimated 7% per year worldwide. Demand for speciality types (such as security, diffractive and multilayer pigments) is expected to increase at 15% per year. Classical metallic pigments are simply very thin flakes which act as individual mirrors. The intensity of light that is seen is therefore greatest near to the angle at which incident light is reflected (the 'gloss angle').

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