Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
The Metallic Paint Secret
The Metallic Paint Secret
A technician determined how super-bright metallic paint was made without analyzing the material. How could this be done?
Mysteries of Science

Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
The company made parts for the automotive industry, mainly interior components that went into the dashboard. Many decorating and finishing processes were used.

Metallic finish was used sparingly for safety reasons. Typically to create attention getting borders around dials, knobs and buttons, vacuum metalizing was used to coat these areas.

The problem with vacuum coating was that it was not a selective coating method, everything received the metal coating and masking was not an efficient process.

A competitor had developed a super bright metallic paint that looked similar to vacuum metalizing. After signing an agreement not to analyze the material the company obtained a sample and found that it did look bright and shiny.

After receiving a second can of paint, the following week a technician announced that he could determine how the product was made without analyzing the  material.

How could this be done?

Here's the rest of the story.

There was a plastic wrapper that surrounded the sample paint can supplied by the competitor.

There was thin metal on some areas of the plastic wrapper, but most had flaked off. The technician surmised that the competitor coated a plastic film with a release layer that would come off easily.

They vacuum deposited shiny metal onto the release coated plastic film. The coating with the bright metal could be peeled off and ground into a pigment.

The result would be a very thin and bright metal pigment that could be applied by painting or screening.
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