Innovative measurement methodology in the study of weathering of automotive coatings

  • Elizabeth Lakin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


An initial aim of this project was to evaluate the conventional techniques used in the analysis of newly prepared environmentally friendly water-borne automotive coatings and compare them with solvent-borne coatings having comparable formulations. The investigation was carried out on microtuned layers as well as on complete automotive multi-layer paint systems. Methods used included the very traditional methods of gloss and hardness and the commonly used photo-oxidation index (from FTIR spectral analysis). All methods enabled the durability to weathering of the automotive coatings to be initially investigated. However, a primary aim of this work was to develop methods for analysing the early stages of chemical and property changes in both the solvent-borne and water-borne coating systems that take place during outdoor natural weathering exposures and under accelerated artificial exposures. This was achieved by using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), in both tension mode on the microtomed films (on all depths of the coating systems from the uppermost clear-coat right down to the electron-coat) and bending mode of the full (unmicrotomed) systems, as well as MALDI-Tof analysis on the movement of the stabilisers in the full systems. Changes in glass transition temperature and relative cross-link density were determined after weathering and these were related to changes in the chemistries of the binder systems of the coatings after weathering.
Concentration profiles of the UV-stabilisers (UVA and HALS) in the coating systems were analysed as a consequence of migration in the coating systems in separate microtomed layers of the paint samples (depth profiling) after weathering and diffusion co-efficient and solubility parameters were determined for the UV stabilisers in the coating systems.
The methods developed were used to determine the various physical and chemical changes that take place during weathering of the different (water-borne and solvent-borne) systems (photoxidation). The solvent-borne formulations showed less changes after weathering (both natural and accelerated) than the corresponding water-borne formulations due to the lower level of cross-links in the binders of the water-borne systems. The silver systems examined were more durable than the blue systems due to the reflecting power of the aluminium and the lower temperature of the silver coatings.
Date of AwardMar 2010
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSahar Al-Malaika (Supervisor)


  • natural weathering
  • artificial accelerated weathering
  • solvent-borne
  • water-borne
  • clear-coat
  • base-coat
  • primer
  • electro-coat
  • photoxidation
  • FTIR
  • UV-Vis
  • migration
  • DMA

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