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The idea behind the section of Buyers guide is to make You empowered with knowledge to make those "smart" choices.
Buyers Guide to Pigment

Set of Basic Checklist Before any Selection of Pigment is Made

  • What kind of end-use application for which the Pigment is required?
  • Is there any economic limitations placed on raw materials to be used in a product?
  • Nature of the resin on which the Pigment is to be applied
  • How exacting the match is required?
  • If the pigment is to be applied on exteriors what is its life expectancy and where will it be exactly used?
  • What processing temperature will the Pigment be exposed to?
  • Are there any regulatory restrictions affecting the product?
  • Impermeability (barrier properties)
  • Purity of the pigment
  • Fineness of the powder
Pigments encompasses a huge variety of Colorants as well an enormous types of applicaion in broad range of industries. Sometimes what happens is that all of the properties expected do not come together to give an illustration, high performance inorganic pigments offer comparatively weak color strength, but can give excellent opacity and durability. To give another example, high cost organic pigments though offer excellent color strength but comes with the limitation of poor opacity. Thus Formulators are left with very difficult choices to make.

One thing to remember is that, pigment selection in most cases is application-specific. Some of the important factors that plays a vital role can be of choices like:
  • Colour and Tinctorial strength.
  • Long-term performance vis-a-vis colouring cost.
  • High melt temperature of polymers: For example take the case of fluoropolymers. Typical melt temperatures are high and can vary from 165°C- 370°C. Here the pigment selection is restricted and the majority of pigments applied are inorganic in nature.

Buying Tips

Here a few of such tips have been outlined which would prove valuable in pigment selection.
  • In the case of application in plastics, adding pigments and dyes asks for matching the right mix of colorants to the shade and intensity of the required colors.

  • Selection of Pigment generally is balancing of many types of variables, therefore changes made in the existing commercial formulations should be done judiciously considered and only after color rematching. For example a manufacturer who randomly switches colourant suppliers or reduces expenditure by adopting less costly colorants is under the risk of problems during processing and end-use.

  • Consideration should be given towards particle size of the Pigment as it affects light scattering, which in turn can affect shading. To cite an example, finer particles has a tendency to shift a red pigment's shade towards blue, while coarser particles tends to move it towards yellower shades.

  • It has been seen that in some cases, organic pigments has a tendency to cause part warpage. This generally occurs when pigments interfere with the polymer crystallization. Now the point here is that warpage issues arises more with some kind of pigments than with others. Examples are that of green or blue phthalocyanine pigments. Resins like high-density polyethylene, are more prone to warpage due to their rapid crystallization.

  • Organic pigments generally can withstand temperatures 400°F and 475°F, while inorganic pigments has been seen to withstand 550°F or even more. In case of some complex inorganic pigments, there is a greater heat stability than some polymers. In case of inorganic pigments like yellow iron oxide, a surface treatment is required to increase their heat stability above 400°F. So, it is imperative that a careful selection of inorganic and organic pigments must be done from the standpoint of temperature so as to maximize color and performance.

  • The pigment that is chosen must show compatibility with the base resin so as to prevent a colour shift over time.

Important Selection criterias in Pigment applications

Different applications require different sets of properties. As an informed buyer absolute knowledge of various applications along with their respective requirements from pigments are a must for success of the products. In this table that follows some popular applications along with selection criteria for pigments are given.

Application Selection Criteria
Mettalic/Effect Shade
  • Transparency- The most significant criteria for the colored pigment in the case of a metallic/effect shade.
Coil Coating Important criterias for selection are:-
  • Complete hiding
  • Heat resistance
  • Good durability
  • Lightfastness
  • Chemical resistance
Powder Coating Powder coating can involve complex procedures. Pigment selection among others include:
  • Rheology
  • Hiding
  • Heat stability
  • Dispersability
  • Resistance to wear and tear
Painting Applications
  • Flow
  • Stabilty of the dispersions
  • Ability for blending
Plastic applications
  • Heat Stablity
  • Compatability with the base resin
  • Proper dispersion

Selecting the Colour Blue

If the blue color space, is considered. What should be the best most informed choice and option whether to select an inorganic pigment or organic would be the better choice? The buyer is often confused. At the first instance organic copper phthalocyanine blue that has high color strength and is cheap can be seen as an attractive coloring option. But other factors like process issues, performance and stability when given a consideration choce process can be affected.

Ultramarine Cobalt Pthalocyanine
C1 Pigment Blue 29 C1 Pigment Blue 28 C1 Pigment Blue 15
Not resistant to acid Poor weathering Poor opacity Lower colouring cost Excellent performer Higher colouring cost Poor dispersabilty Higher oil absorption Tendency towards migration Lower colouring cost
Pigment Pigment


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