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This a brief look into the different
types of car paint.

Three of the types of paint are Cellulose, Two-Pack and Water Based paint.

Cellulose or more correctly Nitro-Cellulose is the the most common “classic” or older paint finish, It is easy to use and has relatively hard wearing characteristics. It dries by solvent evaporation, you mix the colour with cellulose thinner prior to spraying and once sprayed the solvents evaporate leaving the colour on the metal surface. It can be sprayed using basic breathing equipment (filtermask) and is fast drying having less dust ingress because the paint stays wet for a short time.It can also be applied by brush if a retarder is added. Nitro-Cellulose is an ideal DIY material.

Two Pack or 2K.

Two pack acrylic enamel is strictly a professional only product, like the name suggests it has 2 components, the colour and an activator/hardener, it will ot dry without this chemical reaction between the 2 products. It provides a far superior coating for the substrate because the molecules cross link when dry.The activator/hardener contains isocyanate which is extremely toxic, isocyanate is a repiratory sensitiserso inhalation can effect breathing, with potentially fatal results.This product requires special breathing equipment and is only sold to the professional painter.

Water Based Paint.

This system is the most common, used by both repairers and car manufacturers alike. The colour coat is water based but still needs to be protected by a 2 Pack clear lacquer, being water based it is far more environmentally friendly. It needs specialist equipment to encourage the paint to dry and because it still needs a 2 pack clear lacquer containing isocyanates (see description of 2 pack) it is only recommended to be used by professionals only.


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