Learning The Lingo.

Brian Dee

Super Moderator
Accelerator : A substance that when added to a paint will speed up the rate of cure (See Catalyst, Hardener).
Acetone: A very fast evaporating solvent with high solvency for certain types of compounds and resins. Has a characteristic ether-like odor.
Acrylic Urethane: A coating based on urethane chemistry, which also includes acrylic chemistry as part of the cross-linked polymer backbone (see Urethane).
Activator: A necessary component used to provide a chemical reaction to cure paint. (See Hardener).
Additives: Chemical substances added to a finish in relatively small amounts to impart or improve desirable properties. Examples are UV screeners, flow agents, defoamers, fish eye eliminators, etc.
Adhesion: The phenomenon by which one material is attached to another by means of surface attraction.
Adhesion Promoter: Material used over an O.E.M. or cured insoluble finish to increase the adhesion of the topcoat.
Air Cap: The front of a spray gun nozzle that directs compressed air against the paint to form and shape an atomized cloud of droplets.
Air Spray: A system of applying paint in the form of tiny droplets. The paint is broken into droplets (atomized) by a spray gun as a result of being forced into a high velocity air stream. The shape and paint density of the resulting droplet cloud can be controlled by air pressure, paint viscosity and gun tip geometry.
Airless Spray : A system of applying paint in which the paint, under high pressure, is passed through a nozzle and broken into droplets (atomized) when it enters the lower pressure region outside the gun tip.
Alkyd: A coating based on a polyester binder. Such polyester are chemical combinations of molecules that contain more than one acid or alcohol group. An example is Dulux paint enamel.
Ambient: Usual or surrounding conditions.
Aqueous: Describes a water-based solution or suspension.
Atomization: The formation of tiny droplets of liquid as in the paint spraying process. Atomization is usually caused by turbulence in an air stream, or a sudden drop in pressure.

Bare Substrate: Any material (steel, aluminum, plastic, etc.) which does not have a coating of paint or primer.
Baking: Application of heat to cure and dry a coating. In automotive refinishing, baking is used to speed up the drying of air-drying finishes and is sometimes called force drying. The metal temperature in refinish baking usually does not exceed 180 degrees.
Basecoat: A color coat requiring a clearcoat. The basecoat provides color effects and appearance, while the clearcoat provides gloss as well as UV and chemical resistance.
Binder: The paint material that forms the film. So-called because it binds the pigment and any additives present into a solid durable film.
Biodegradable: An organic materials capacity for decomposition as a result of attack by microorganisms. Sewage treatment routines are based on this property. Phosphates and chlorinated hydrocarbons (DDT) are not biodegradable.
Bleeding: Soluble dyes or pigments in old finishes dissolved by solvents in new color and bleed through to the new finish color.
Blending: The mixing together of two or more materials; or the gradual shading of paint from one panel to adjacent areas to assure color consistency.
Blistering: The development of hollow bubbles or water droplets in a paint film. It can occur rapidly or over a long period of time after application. Blistering may occur from the presence of unreacted acid within the paint film.
Blushing: The appearance of whitish or cloudy areas in a paint film, caused by absorption and retention of moisture in a drying paint fi
Body Filler: An activated polyester type material used on bare substrate to fill dents in damaged auto body parts.
Bridging: Occurrence where a primer or surfacer does not totally fill a sandscratch or imperfection. Not usually apparent in undercoat, however, does show up in topcoat.
Brittle: A paint coating lacking flexibility.
Bubbles: Water or solvent trapped in a paint film caused by poor atomization during spraying. Air trapped in body filler caused by excessive agitation.
Buffing Compound: A soft paste containing fine abrasive in a neutral medium, used to eliminate fine scratches and polish topcoat.
Build: The amount of paint film deposited on a substance (the depth or thickness of which is measured in mils).
Burn Through: Polishing or buffing of a color or clear too hard or long causing the underlying coat(s) to be revealed.

Candy/Toner : A translucent element used to mix all colors, whether solids, metallics or so-called glamour/mica-pearl colors. Depending upon the ratio of the toner to the binders and other chemical agents that make up paint, the paint color might require many coats to produce the desired colors. Modern "candy paint" is a sophisticated mixture of paint elements which produces a highly translucent color which is typically applied over a high-metallic base color (silver, bronze or gold).
Cast: A variation of a color; example, a red shade blue.
Catalyst: Additive for paint to speed the cure, give better recoatability, better durability to weather and provides gloss.

Chalking: The result of weathering of a paint film resulting in a white powdery appearance.
Checking/Crowfoot: Tiny cracks or splitting in the surface of a paint film usually seen in a lacquer. Caused by improper film formation or excessive film build.
Clearcoat: A paint containing no pigment or only transparent pigment, which provides gloss and durability when used as protection over a basecoat.
Clouding: The formation or presence of a haze in a liquid or in a film.
Colorant: Made with ground pigments, solvent and resin. Used in the intermix system to produce colors.
Color Match: Achieved when the applied color duplicates all aspects of the original color� appearance in hue, value and chroma.
Color Retention: The ability of a color to retain its true shade over an extended period of time. A color that is color fast.
Color Sanding: The sanding of a paint film to prepare for buffing or recoating.
Complementary Colors: Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.
Compounding : Use of an abrasive material, either by hand or by machine, to smooth and bring out the gloss of the applied topcoat.
Coverage: The ability of a pigmented color to conceal or cover a surface.
Cross-coat: Applying paint in a crisscross pattern. Single coat applied in one direction with a second single coat applied at 90° to the first.
Curtains: Large sagging or runs of paint due to improper application.

Delamination: The loss of adhesion between two layers of paint, causing material to separate from the painted surface or substrate.
Depth: Lighter or darker in comparing two colors. The first adjustment in color matching.
Dew Point: The temperature at which water vapor condenses from the air. The dew point varies with the relative humidity.
Die-Back: The gradual loss of gloss due to continued evaporation of solvent after polishing.
Dirt Nibs: Small specks of foreign material in a dried paint film. Then can be removed by scuff sanding and polishing.
DOI (Distinctness of Image): A measurement of the accuracy of a reflection in a paint film.
Double Coat: One single coat of paint followed immediately by another.
Drier: A material used in a paint which enables it to cure.
Dry: The evaporation of solvent from a paint film.
Dry Film Thickness (DFT): The resultant film thickness of a coating after it has reached its final state of dry or cure (See Coverage, Hiding).
Dry Sanding: A method of abrading the surface by hand or machine without the aid of any lubricant (water).
Dry Shot: Sprayed paint which loses so much solvent in the air that it becomes too dry to flow out over the surface. This normally occurs when the chosen reducer is too fast for the atmospheric conditions. Dry spray has a lower gloss than the normally sprayed surface (see Dry Coat).
Durability: Refers to the retention of gloss and performance
properties in a paint film during the use of exposure to sunlight.

Enamel: A term with several meanings: (1) a paint which forms a film by chemical union of its component molecules during cure; (2) a paint having a highly glossy, finished appearance.
Epoxy: A type of paint, adhesive or plastic noted for high mechanical strength, good adhesion and chemical resistance.
Etching Primer: A primer which contains an acid which etches the substrate as well as applying a primer. To protect against corrosion.
Evaporation: The change from liquid to a gas. When solvents leave a wet paint film, they usually do so by evaporation.
Evaporation Rate: The speed with which any liquid evaporates.

Fading: A gradual change of color or gloss in a finish.
Feathering: Slang term for blending or slowly moving the edge of one color into a second color.
Film Thickness Gauge: A device used to measure the coating thickness (film build) on a substrate. Magnetic units are used to measure the thickness of ferrous metals; electronic units are used on non-ferrous substrates.
Fish Eyes: A surface depression or crater in the wet paint film. Fish eyes are caused by repulsion of the wet paint by a surface contaminant such as oil or silicone. The depression may or may not reveal the surface under the paint.
Flake-Off: Large pieces of paint or undercoat falling off of substrate; also called delamination.
Flake Orientation: The appearance of the metallic particles in a paint film during and after dry or cure. Selection of the correct aluminum flakes in the color mixing formula, proper application, etc., will lead to good flake orientation and thus to good color match and appearance.
Flash Point: The temperature at which the vapor of a liquid will ignite when a spark is struck.
Flash Time: The time between paint application and consecutive coats, and/or force dry. Fluid Needle: Parts in a spray gun that opens and closes fluid passages.
Flattening Agent: Material used in paint to dull or eliminate gloss.
Flex Agent: Material added to paint for additional flexibility, usually used for rubber or plastic flexible parts.
Floating: Characteristics or some pigments to separate from solution and migrate to the surface of paint film while still wet.
Flop (Side Tone): The color of a finish when viewed from a side angle, other than direct.
Flow: The leveling properties of a wet paint film.
Fog Coat: A final atomized coat of paint, usually applied at higher air pressure and at greater distance than normal.
Force Dry: A method of accelerating the drying of paint by using heat (see Baking).

Galze: A very fine polishing material used to gain gloss and shine.
Gloss: The ability of a surface to reflect light. Measured by determining the percentage of light reflected from a surface at certain angles.
Grayness; The amount of black or white in a specific color.
Gravity-feed Gun: A paint gun with the paint reservoir on the top of the gun, which allows the paint to flow into the spray area by gravity.
Ground Coat: Highly pigmented coat of paint applied before a transparent color to speed hiding.
Guide Coat: A reference coat. For example: a thin coat of dark or tinted color applied over a primer to provide a visual check for smoothness when sanded.

Handslick: The time it takes for a wet paint film to become ready for another coat of paint.
Hardener: A necessary component specifically designed to ensure cure of an enamel finish. Another name for an activator.
Hiding or Hiding Power: The ability of a paint film to mask the color or pattern of a surface. May be measured while the paint is still wet or after it has dried, and these measurements may differ. Hiding power is measured by determining the minimum thickness at which a film will completely obscure a black and white pattern (See Coverage).
High Solids: Paints are described as having high solids when they contain more than 50-60% solids (by weight). High solids paints have lower VOCs.
Hit: Small increment. A gradual increase in quantity. Term used in color adjustment.
Holdout: The ability of a surface to keep the topcoat from sinking in and causing a decrease in appearance or gloss.
Humidity: A measure of the amount of water vapor in the air. Absolute humidity reflects the quantity of moisture in the air compared to the maximum possible moisture content of air at the same temperature. Relative humidity is expressed as a percentage. Humidity has a great effect on the drying time of paints, in particular waterbornes.
HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure): Describes a paint gun that uses a high volume and low pressure of atomizing air to apply material to a surface. This provides high transfer efficiency and lower overspray. Spray equipment which delivers material at a low pressure of no more than 10 PSI (at the air cap), however, with greater volume of air.

InterCoat Adhesion: The ability of one coat of paint to stick to another coat.
Intermix: The mixing of specific colors by adding different components or colorants to produce a usable mixture at the paint store or shop level.
Isocyanate: A hardening agent used with acrylic urethane and other 2 component reaction type paints. It reacts with acrylic polymer, etc., to form a very durable coating. Material containing a functional group of nitrogen, carbon and oxygen, used in urethane catalyst and hardener to cross link material into a solid urethane film.

Jelled: Thickening of paint to an unusable form due to drying or curing, before being used.

Lacquers: Paints that dry by evaporative loss of solvent. The film remains susceptible to attack by the same or similar solvents. Lacquers can be based on nitrocellulose or acrylic resins.
Let Down: The process of reducing the intensity of a colorant or mass tone through the addition of white or silver, allowing you to see cast and strength.
Lifting: The soaking of a solvent into a soluble undercoat causing swelling, then causing the topcoat to wrinkle from underneath.
Low Film Build: The condition of a paint film when it is too thin to provide protection to the substrate or withstand environmental conditions.
LVLP: Low Volume, Low Pressure (See HVLP)

Masking : Process of applying pressure, sensitive tape and paper to a vehicle to prevent paint from being applied where it is not wanted.
Metallic Paint: Paint, which contains metallic pigment, usually in the form of tiny flakes. Generally these are aluminum or mica, and are used to increase the eye-appeal of the finish.
Mica (Pearl): Colors containing various sizes and/or colors of mica. Mica flakes have several optical characteristics allowing light to reflect, pass through and absorb. When added to color alone or with metallic flake, cause the color to look different depending on the angle of view.
mil: A measure of paint film thickness, equal to one one-thousandth of an inch (0.000l inch).
Mist Coating: A light spray coat of high solvent content material for blending and/or gloss enhancement and metallic control in single-stage color.
Mix Ratio: The proportion of ingredients to be blended together to make a ready-to-spray paint. For example, a clearcoat with a mix ratio of 4:1 requires the mixing of 4 parts of the clearcoat with 1 part activator. Mix ratios are normally done by volume.
Molecule: The smallest possible unit or amount of any substance, which retains the characteristics of that substance.
Mottling: Blotches of metallic or mica particles in a paint film.

Orange Peel: An irregularity in the surface of a paint film resulting from the inability of the wet film to level out after being applied. Orange peel appears as a characteristically uneven or dimpled surface to the eye, but usually feels smooth to the touch.
Overall Painting: A type of refinish in which the entire car is completely repainted.
Over-reduce: To add more thinner or reducer to a paint than is normally necessary for application. This is sometimes done in order to lower the paint viscosity, to aid in blending, or to achieve a special color effect.
Overspray: An overlap of dry spray particles on areas that were not meant to be painted, or on previously painted areas where they do not melt in (See Dry Shot)

Particle Size: The size of the pigment particle in a dispersion.
Pearlescent: is a translucent paint with a finely ground material that has the distinctively soft and luminescent visual quality of a pearl.
Pigment: Small particles added to paint to influence properties such as color, corrosion resistance, mechanical strength, etc. Pigments may be colored, semitransparent, black, white or colorless. They must be incorporated into a paint system by some dispersion process.
Polishing Compound: A material applied to a vehicle� surface, which removes minor imperfections with minimal cutting action. Buffing restores film to a high gloss appearance.
Pressure-feed Gun: A spray gun equipped with a separate paint container that is pressurized and connected to the spray gun by means of hoses.
Primer: The first coat of paint applied to a substrate, designed to proved adhesion and corrosion resistance.
Primer-sealer: An undercoat which improves adhesion of the topcoat, and which seals old painted surfaces that have been sanded; usually does not require sanding.
Primer-surfacer: An undercoat, which fills small imperfections in the substrate and which usually must be sanded.

Reduce: The ability of a surface to keep the topcoat from sinking in and causing a decrease in appearance or gloss.
Reducer: A solvent used to reduce or thin enamels and urethanes to sprayable viscosity. Also used as a drying agent for urethanes.(See Thinner)

Sagging: Excessive flow on a vertical surface resulting in drips and other imperfections on the painted surface. Occurs not only when the paint is wet, but also during baking in certai
n types of paints.
Sealer: An undercoat that enhances adhesion. Provides uniform color holdout and an even, level surface for topcoat application.
Secondary Colors: Mixture of two primary colors to produce a second color. Example: red and yellow make orange.
Seedy: Rough or gritty appearance of paint due to very small insoluble particles.
Shade: A variation of color. Example 1: a green shade blue. Example 2: light blue versus dark blue.
Shrinkage: Tightening or shrinking of paint film as solvent evaporates.
Single Stage: A one-step paint procedure of applying color, protection and durability in one application. No clear is used.
Siphon Feed Gun: Any paint gun which uses air flowing over an opening to create a vacuum to draw paint up a tube to be atomized.
Solids: The part of the paint that does not evaporate but stays on the surface to form a film. Usually measured on a weight or volume basis.
Solid Color: Colors that contain no metallic flakes in the pigment portion of paint. These colors have opaque pigmentation or properties in the paint film.
Solvent: A liquid, which will dissolve something, usually resins or other binder components. Commonly it is an organic liquid.
Solvent Pop: Blisters in the surface of a film caused by trapment of solvent. Looks like tiny air bubbles.
Spot Repair: A type of refinish repair job in which a section of the car smaller than a panel is refinished (often called "ding" or "dent" work). The paint is usually blended into the surrounding area.
Spray: Paint is atomized in a spray gun and the stream of atomized paint is directed at the part to be painted. Atomization may be high pressure air, by high pressure stream, by high fluid pressure, or by electrical means in an electrostatic process.
Spray Pattern: Spray from the paint gun adjusted from a very small, almost round pattern to a wide, flat, somewhat oval shape.
Stabilizer: Something added to paint to prevent degradation. Special resin-containing solvent used in basecoat color to lower viscosity helping in metallic control and recoat times.

Tack: The stickiness of a paint film or an adhesive. The time it takes for an air drying paint to reach a tack-free stage is a common measure of drying speed.
Tack Cloth or Rag: A cloth coated with a sticky substance used to remove dirt and lint prior to painting.
Tack Coat: The first enamel coat, applied full and allowed to flash only until it is quite sticky.
Tack Free: Time in the drying of a paint film where it is not sticky but not completely cured.
Thermosplastic Paint: Material which with the addition of heat becomes soft and pliable, returning to solid when cooled, i.e., lacquer.
Thermosetting Paint: Type of paint that becomes hard when heated and thereafter is cured, i.e., enamels, urethanes.
Thinner: Solvent material used to reduce the viscosity of lacquers.
Thixotropy: The tendency for the viscosity of a liquid to be shear-rate-dependent. When the liquid is rapidly shaken, brushed or otherwise mechanically disturbed, the viscosity decreases rapidly. Thixotropic behavior is the result molecules or particles in the liquid forming weakly associated structures, which break apart upon agitation.
Three Stage System: A three-step paint procedure. First a highly pigmented color coat is applied to achieve hiding, referred to as the groundcoat. This groundcoat is then followed by the intermediate coat. The intermediate coat is applied using a transparent mica in a number of single coats until the desired effect is obtained. This finish requires a clearcoat for gloss protection and durability, which is applied last.
Tint: A pure toner used for the changing of another color.
Toner: Made with ground pigments, solvent and resin. Used in the intermix system to produce colors.
Topcoat: The final layer of paint applied to a substrate. Several coats of topcoat may be applied in some cases.
Touch Up: A method of repainting performed on a new or used vehicle for any reason. Also refers to correcting minor scratches by a brush, etc.
Tri-Coat: A system that involves the application of a couple of coats of clear paint over a so-called "glamour" tint coat (usually involving the new mica "pearl" powders sometimes mixed in a colored toner) which is, in turn, applied over a complimentary high-solid base color (in a color matching the tint coat) that is, of course, applied over the primer/sealer. Typically, this system would be applied like this: primer/sealer, white "high-solid" underbase, white (mica) pearl, clear top coat. The system is used sometimes by auto manufacturers on upper line cars; the half-decade old Cadillac Allante used this system when the pearl white was applied. This tri-coat system depends upon the uniform application of the "color coat"
Two-component System: Materials such as some paints, fillers and adhesives, which require the addition of a hardener or activator to accomplish a chemical reaction, causing them to cure. Also described as 2K.

Undercoat: A first coat, primer, sealer or surfacer applied to the substrate. Frequently used to provide corrosion protection and adhesion.
Urethane : A type of paint or polymer, which results from the reaction of an isocyanate with a hydroxyl containing component. Urethanes are noted for their toughness and abrasion resistance. (See Polyurethane)
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