Glossary of terms

Definitions of common finishing terms


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A volatile solvent, excellent in mixtures (such as mixing with oil and water).


Resins resulting from the polymerization of esters of acrylic and methacrylic acids. Most acrylics require strong solvents, although some may be formulated using aromatic hydrocarbons without oxygenated solvents.


Any chemical added in small amounts to a coating to achieve specific properties (mar resistance, slip, etc.)

Air-Assisted Airless

A compromise between conventional spray and airless spray methods, air-assisted spray technology uses a small amount of atomizing air with higher fluid pressures to allow for good film appearance with good transfer efficiency.

Air Dry Coating

A coating formulation that dries after application without the use of heat.


Latent solvents for many materials. Characterized by the presence of a hydroxyl group. Capable of strong hydrogen bonding. Oxygenated solvents.


Synthetic resins formed by the condensation of polyhydric alcohols and polybasic acids. They may be regarded as complex esters. Most commonly made from glycerin and phthalic anhydride. Solvent requirements vary, ranging from strong aromatic hydrocarbons to low solvency aliphatic hydrocarbons.

Alkyd Paint

Paint made with synthetic resins which have good retention of color and flexibility. Also oil-modified alkyd which contains a drying oil as part of its makeup.

Alkyd / Urea

Blend of resins most commonly used in conversion coatings. Releases characteristic formaldehyde odor.

Architectural Coating

Coatings intended for on-site application to interior or exterior surfaces of residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial buildings. These finishes are applied at ambient temperatures and dry without being heated. Also called trade sales coatings.


Characterized by unsaturated, six carbon benzene ring structures. Hydrocarbon solvents which contain more than 50% aromatic compounds are designated as aromatic hydrocarbon solvents. Strongest of the hydrocarbon solvents. Strongest odor.

Auto Ignition Point

Temperature at which vapor from volatile material self-combusts.

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