Automotive Paint Testing

December 6, 2016

by Katie Higgs, Special Projects Manager, NTS Baltimore

From door dings to bird excrement, automotive paint must be durable and long-lasting. To ensure quality standards are met and untimely defects are prevented, manufacturers often have a list of required tests to qualify an automotive paint prior to production. Some of these tests may include:

  • Abrasion resistance to establish clear coat durability when abraded or scuffed.
  • Accelerated corrosion, such as salt fog, to replicate areas in which automobiles are exposed to road salt during winter driving conditions.
  • Accelerated weathering usually consisting of 1000-2000 hours of ultraviolet light and water cycling exposure at specific temperatures.
  • Chemical resistance to antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gasoline, and other automotive-related fluids.
  • Environmental exposure using thermal shock and/or temperature and humidity conditions to hasten potential defects resulting from thermal / environmental changes.
  • Paint adhesion to demonstrate the susceptibility of the paint to separate from its substrate.
  • Paint (film) hardness to quantify the resistance to scratching
  • Paint thickness is a specific requirement for OEM’s, as too little or too much can cause a wide array of issues.

Along with the testing described above, obtaining “measurements” for the paint provides a means for basing process decisions off of quantitative results.  With that, two useful parameters to monitor for painted surfaces are color and gloss.  These parameters provide numerical values for color difference (ΔE) and gloss retention as a result of some type of environmental exposure. Quantifying how much an automotive paint system fades or deteriorates after such an exposure is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction.

NTS Baltimore recently expanded their automotive paint testing capabilities with a purchase of an X-Rite Ci4200 Spectrophotometer to measure color.

Contact us today to discuss your automotive paint testing needs!

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