Paint Lab Photo: Paint Sample Preparation and Analysis Procedures

  • PAINT LAB SAMPLE PREPARATION - CONTENTS: Detailed procedures for preparing paint failure samples for lab analysis. Guide to high power light microscopic examination of paint chips and fragments - Simple chemical tests to aid in identifying acrylic/latex or oil/alkyd classes of paint - Lab observations aid in diagnosing the cause of paint failure on surfaces.
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Paint chip analysis procedures for paint failure diagnosis: this article describes a simple procedure for preparing paint samples for reflected light low to high magnification microscopic examination in the paint failure laboratory

. A procedure is described for mounting sectioned paint chips on edge for microscopic examination. This procedure is useful in the determination of paint layers, paint layer thickness measurement, and paint layer interactions. The procedure also permits detection of mold or debris which has been painted over.

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A Procedure for Preparing Paint Samples for Examination by Reflected Light Microscopy

Two simple chemical tests are described for identification of paint as acrylic or alkyd, useful as a quick, inexpensive alternative to pyrolysis gas chromatography, We include photographs of the procedure for preparing paint chips for cross-section and flat surface analysis. and photos of the results of simple chemical analysis to identify paint samples as acrylic or alkyd paints.

The diagnosis and cure of paint failure on buildings, particularly on wood siding and trim, is quite possible if there is a careful and thorough inspection of the building, its history, its surfaces, and the actual points of paint failure. It is diagnostic to compare the same coating on the same type of surface at different locations on a building and in areas of failed and not-failed paint.

Flat Surface View of Failing Paint Chips for Paint Failure Diagnosis

Paint chips and samples from a painted surface can be easily mounted flat for microscopic examination, though care should be taken in selection of mounting media to be sure that the media does not react with or modify the sample. Flat mounting of paint chip samples to examine the exposed and inner surfaces is a basic step in microscopic examination and lab diagnosis of failing coatings.

Examination of the exposed paint surface in flat or planar view may disclose defects such as micro cracking, micro blistering, or contaminants. Examination of the inner, hidden, or release-surface of sample paint chips from a failing coating can provide critical information needed to state the cause of the paint failure with confidence.

The inner paint surface may show wood fibers, chalked dust from the painted-on surface, or even separation of paint ingredients or surfactant bleeding which form critical diagnostic data but which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Photographs of these failures are provided in other chapters of this document.

This article is part of our series: Diagnosing and Preventing Paint Failure on Building Exteriors.

See PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR for a guide to the selection and proper application of paints and stains on exterior wood surfaces.


Continue reading at PAINT FAILURE ANALYSIS LAB PHOTOS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES for the LAB - general microscopy


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