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Rheological Characterization of Paints and Coatings Page 1

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Rheological Characterization of Water-based Coatings
Application Examples
Storage Stability and Shelf Life
Leveling and Brush Marks
Rheology During Roller Application
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Performance of the Coating Film

Waterborne coatings do not have a priori, the same advantageous rheological
properties as solvent-based coatings. If not formulated correctly, they display inferior
characteristics with regard to flow properties, leveling, application properties, film build,
etc. The performance of waterborne paints can be improved through the addition of
thickeners and rheological modifiers. The addition of traditional thickeners such as
inorganic clays and high molecular weight polymers improves the viscosity during
application, but delivers inferior spatter resistance and leveling to the paint.

Associative thickeners such as low molecular weight, water soluble polymers improve
the overall performance of waterborne coatings. Associative thickeners reduce viscosity
at high rates, thus providing low roller spatter and good film build. Furthermore, they
maintain a low viscosity at low rates, thereby improving flow, gloss and leveling. The
disadvantage is the instability of these systems (phase separation) and the strong pH
dependence, which influences the ionization of the carboxyl groups of the latex ( (http://www.azom
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Rheological Characterization of Paints and Coatings Page 2

The rheological characterization ( of

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coatings is generally carried at low shear viscosity (LSV) 0.001 to 1s-1, medium shear
viscosity (MSV) 1-1000s-1, and high shear viscosity (HSV) 103 to 106s-1 (Figure 1). The
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consistency of a coating (i.e., appearance, pouring and mixing behavior) is defined by ( (http://www.azom
MSV. ASTM D562 (Stormer viscosity), ASTM D2196 (Brookfield spindles), and(/articles.aspx)
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are typical test standards.
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Figure 1. Viscosity of structural coatings

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The HSV correlates to coating application conditions like brushing, rolling, etc. The cone/ suppliers.aspx?SupplierID=11399)
plate viscosity test at 104s-1 is the standard test method (ASTM D4287-88). Typical paints
are adjusted to 50150 mPas for low drag during application. The LSV correlates to all
low rate processes like leveling, sagging, settling, etc. The LSV is usually determined at
0.3s-1. Leveling will be improved if the viscosity range is 25-100Pas. Sagging will occur if
the viscosity is below 10Pas.

Yield stress measurement ( is also

performed for the characterization of the paint in the low rate region. A profile for a
good thin film water-based coating is given in Table 1:

Table 1. Profile of a thin film waterborne paint

Rate (1/ Viscosity Yield Stress

Coating Process
s) (Pas) (Pa)
Storage 0,1 >50 >1
Transfer to brush w/o dripping 0 >2.5 >1
Transfer to substrate with good film build and w/o
104 0.1 to 0.3 >0.25
excessive brush drag
Drying with good levelling and minimum sag 1 5 to 10 >0.25
A yield stress y larger than 1 Pa and a LSV above 50 Pas (at rest, before mixing) are
typical values
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is smaller than 0.25 Pa after high shear mixing. Table 1 shows a table with typical values 9/15/2016 7:53:07 PM