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Paint (Solvent / Alcohol) Swelling


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#1 TOGWT

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:41 AM


Automotive paint (urethane) is classified as a semi-permeable thermo-setting membrane; that is it moves in unison with its metal substrate, this is termed as elasticity (tensile strength and elongation) a paint surface is often subjected to high ambient temperatures, which cause a temperature swings in excess of 40.OF. A paint surface must remains flexible while retaining its tensile strength, to enable it to expand and contract, following any temperature fluctuations of the substrate, elasticity is imperative; otherwise the paint film would crack.

Some harsh solvents (especially chlorinated versions) lacquer thinner, xylene, toluene, acetone, Methyl ethyl ketone along with Butyl cellosolve will negatively impact the paints resin binder system and swell the paint substrate, this may take some time to materialise

The main risks associated with using solvents; relate to the effects of solvent on the organic binder system that holds the paint together. The more acute element of risk is that of expansion of the paint through sorption of solvent. The polymerised urethanes dried oil network may not be truly soluble, but the polymer network may expand by sorption of solvent or concentrated isopropyl alcohol molecules and sometimes silicone.

Depending on the degree of expansion, the paint will be more or less softened and its capacity to bind the pigment particles may be affected. In the swollen condition, there is a risk that pigment may be removed from the paint through the (kinetic energy (friction heat) of a foam pad and rotary action (twisting) causing the paint to tear.

OEM or freshly applied solvent-based paint once its cross- linked forms a very tight matrix; meaning it's not a porous as many people seem to think; however time and environmental damage, especially brake dust particulates that act as a conduit to the paint matrix, cause micro pores and fissures that allow permeation.

Dependent upon the particulate size, some chemicals penetrate easily, only liquids that are smaller on a molecular level than the cross-linked paint can be absorbed; solvents and alcohol can permeate the paint causing the paint to temporarily swell hiding surface scratches and marring


Freshly Applied Paint

Freshly applied paint that in the outgas stage, is still full of evaporating solvents, and is usually less dense (soft) despite the additives used (hardener) once a catalyst, kinetic energy (friction heat) is added, it causes the paint film to expand, temporarily hiding scratches, this is often the reason for a body-shops bad reputation of returning vehicles that have sanding scratches in newly applied paint that should have been removed.

Be cognizant when polishing newly applied paint the kinetic energy (heat) from a foam pad can also cause solvent engorgement, which causes the paint film to thin due to the expansion of the evaporating gases, applied rotational force may also cause the paint to tear Kinetic friction (heat) is transferred to a solvent (IPA or fresh paint) causing it to both expand (Charles' law (also known as the law of volumes) the paint film and soften it.

Automotive paint is classified as a semi-permeable membrane; it has both tensile strength and elongation (elasticity) newly painted surfaces are soft and full of out gassing solvents, resin binders and additives, as well as and water.

Polish contains solvents, which soften the paint film, kinetic surface friction and applied downward pressure transfers its energy into heat / torque (force to rotate an object about an axis), which could result in the alteration of the paint films bond between its substrate, causing it to delaminate or tear?

The heat makes the gasses expand (pV = nRT) the expanding gases go through a phase transition (change in density) and to relive this increased pressure they (a) rupture the paint film surface, causing small fissures (similar to solvent pop) The heat may cause the gaseous vapours to expand, but not enough to break through the hardening clear coat. Once the vapour has evaporated, it may leave a void between the basecoat and the clear. Therefore you have a cloudy spot where the clear and base is no longer adhered. If this is the case, the clear coat will delaminate in the future.

Once the outgas process is complete automotive coatings (paint) becomes a semi-solid permeable membrane, Being a polymer (elastomers) it remains flexible while retaining its tensile strength, to enable it to expand and contract to follow temperature fluctuations of the substrate (elongation) kinetic friction and its associated heat can cause a rapid temperature rise (i.e. initial surface temp 80.oF, heat attained with a cutting foam pad at 1,100 RPM for approx. ten seconds is approx. 104.oF) the paint temperature can be checked by utilizing an instant read-out infra-red ‘gun’ thermometer, paint surface ‘spot’ temperature should be limited to <110.oF

In accordance with the Society of The paint temperature can be checked by utilizing an instant read-out infra-red ‘gun type’ digital thermometer. In accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) a localized (spot) temperature should be limited to of 115.oF (range 105 – 145. OF.

Dependent upon paint specification, thickness, and etc) as it will cause the paint to soften and the resin binder system to eventually fail Be cognizant that with high ‘spot’ temperatures the foam pad will cause scratching that is forced deep into the clear coat.

Above >115.O F and you create what the coating industry calls "thermal stress" - those long, small cracks in the paint that looks like light scratches, but cannot be removed by buffing. This phenomenon won't show up at first, but in a year or so the cracks will be evident. (See also the first law of thermodynamics et al)


Surface Filling (Drop back) / Masking Abilities

Filling or ‘drop-back’ can also be caused by the paint swelling, solvents are heated and expand, thereby temporarily covering any surface imperfections. Typically when people talk about fillers in compounds/polishes that are not removed will temporarily mask defects. Once the surface is washed the ‘filling’ will be removed, and revelling the lack of true paint correction.

This is generally termed ‘drop back’, they are generally a by-product as they are included into the formulation to provide surface lubrication (glycerine, wax, mineral oil, and etc) or silicone- based oils that are far harder to remove (but that’s another subject) These lubrication agents can leave a slight film which might help (by filling) to hide minor imperfections or swirls, but they don't bond to the paint. So once the surface wipe-down process is used they are revealed

Depending on the manufacturers requirements the oils can be various grades, the denser the oil the harder they are to remove with a solvent-based wipe down. With these thicker, denser oils using 10% d-limonene based detergent (P21s Total Auto Wash) with the diluted isopropyl alcohol and distilled water solution will remove them

a) Some polishes contain specific products (i.e. Kaolin (china clay) or Diatomaceous earth) that are formulated into the product to (a) burnish the paint surface (B) mask surface defects not removed by polishing (evidenced by excess dusting) © or to bulk up the product; this type of filler will also be removed by the IPA wipe-down(s) process

B) Abrasive polishes once they become micro sized by friction will fill the micro fissures in the paint, acting as a filler; a simple wipe with a towel will only help to evenly spread them. This can be alleviated with an IPA wipe-down(s) process

c) Another thing to consider is the use of high tech spray-able silicone polymers. These polymers can be applied at a car wash or used by detailers in spray waxes, quick detailers or spray wax product and can have a lasting negative impact on a paint finish by affecting the performance of compounds and polishes, much like silicone on a paint surface i.e. filling surface scratches as opposed to the polish actually removing them. A proper wipe down process will eliminate this

Typically when people talk about fillers in compounds/polishes they are a by-product as they are included into the formulation to provide surface lubrication (glycerine, wax, mineral oil, and etc) or silicone- based oils that are far harder to remove (but that’s another subject)

These lubrication agents can leave a slight film which might help (by filling) to hide minor imperfections or swirls, but they don't bond to the paint. So once the surface wipe-down process is used they are revealed.

Cleaning a Paint Surface with a Solvent

Sorption [: refers to the action of absorption or adsorption];

Absorption [: the incorporation of a substance in one state into another of a different state (e.g. liquids being absorbed by a solid or gases being absorbed by a liquid)].

Adsorption [: the physical adherence or bonding of ions and molecules onto the surface of another phase (e.g. reagents adsorbed to solid catalyst surface)]

Use caution when cleaning a paint surface with a solvent as it negatively affects the binder system allowing sorption through the surface fissures (micro pores).

There are two main risks associated with using aromatic hydrocarbon solvents; both relating to the effects of solvent on the organic binder of the paint. The possible extraction (leaching) of low-molecular weight components of the paint binder by the action of the solvent and heat

The more acute element of risk in cleaning, however, is that of expansion of the paint through sorption of solvent. The polymerised urethanes dried oil network may not be truly soluble, but the polymer network may expand by sorption of solvent or concentrated alcohol molecules and silicone.

Depending on the degree of expansion, the paint will be more or less softened and its capacity to bind the pigment particles may be affected. In the swollen condition, there is a risk that pigment may be removed from the paint through the mechanical (friction) action of a foam pad.


Paint (Solvent / Alcohol) Swelling

Automotive paint (urethane) is classified as a semi-permeable thermo-setting membrane; that is it moves in unison with its metal substrate, this is termed as elasticity (tensile strength and elongation) a paint surface is often subjected to high ambient temperatures, which cause a temperature swings in excess of 40.OF. A paint surface must remains flexible while retaining its tensile strength, to enable it to expand and contract, following any temperature fluctuations of the substrate, elasticity is imperative; otherwise the paint film would crack.

Denatured alcohol (or Methylated spirits) the main additive is (10%) methanol, giving rise to the term 'Methylated spirit'. Other typical additives include isopropyl alcohol (IPA) acetone and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). It also has additives to make it more poisonous or unpalatable, and thus, undrinkable. In some cases blue dye may also be added to indicate that the liquid is not drinkable.

It is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Traditionally, the main additive is 10% methanol, giving rise to the term 'Methylated spirit'. Other typical additives include isopropyl alcohol (IPA) acetone and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and or other solvents will permeate the paint and cause some swelling, especially when heated. Depending on the solvent (strength) the degree of swelling varies. Some harsh solvents (especially chlorinated versions); chlorinated solvents like Naphtha, Toluene, White spirit, Xylene, Dichloromethane (methylene chloride) and Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) react almost immediately and Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) reacts within minutes.

Lacquer thinner, xylene, toluene, acetone, both MEK and Butyl Cellosolve will negatively impact the paints resin binder system and swell the paint substrate, although this may take some time to materialise.

The main risks associated with using solvents; relate to the effects of solvent on the organic binder system that holds the paint together. The more acute element of risk is that of expansion of the paint through sorption of solvent. The polymerised urethanes dried oil network may not be truly soluble, but the polymer network may expand by sorption of solvent or concentrated isopropyl alcohol molecules and sometimes silicone.

Depending on the degree of expansion, the paint will be more or less softened and its capacity to bind the pigment particles may be affected. In the swollen condition, there is a risk that pigment may be removed from the paint through the (kinetic energy (friction heat) of a foam pad and rotary action (twisting) causing the paint to tear.

OEM or freshly applied solvent-based paint once its cross- linked forms a very tight matrix; meaning it's not a porous as many people seem to think; however time and environmental damage, especially brake dust particulates that act as a conduit to the paint matrix, cause micro pores and fissures that allow permeation.

Dependent upon the particulate size, some chemicals penetrate easily, only liquids that are smaller on a molecular level than the cross-linked paint can be absorbed; solvents and alcohol can permeate the paint causing the paint to temporarily swell hiding surface scratches and marring (See also “A new perspective on paint defect return” – by Jason Rose, Autopia.org)

Isopropyl alcohol

[Anhydrous Isopropyl alcohol [Molecular formula C3H8O] for all-purpose cleaning, isopropyl alcohol, is a colourless liquid with a pleasant odour, and is highly flammable. A miscible clear fluid, Flash point 53.0F (12.0C) closed cup]

Made from 70 to 95% ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, along with water, acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and additives to give it a bitter taste, some rubbing alcohol includes perfumes or artificial colouring. Reagent Grade Isopropyl Alcohol, is a chemical grade of highest purity (99.8%) that meets or exceeds purity standards set by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and meets essential laboratory requirements

For less dense (soft) clear coat, the lower rate of isopropyl alcohol dilution (1:10) is recommended; conversely denser (hard) clear coats should use a higher dilution (1:25); as you increase the dilution rate of isopropyl alcohol its paint softening effect drops exponentially.

Isopropyl alcohol is a fast evaporating solvent and at higher ambient temperatures will filly evaporate (flash) within ~30minutes at higher temperatures. At greater dilution percentages it will evaporate more slowly, bear this in mind in warmer environments.

A recommended isopropyl alcohol (IPA) dilution of 1:10-25 (10-25%) in distilled water as a ‘safe’ surface wipedown cleaning solution. The reason for this wide range is due to the variations in the clear coat paint systems

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and or other solvents will permeate the paint, causing it to both soften and produce some swelling. Depending on the solvent (strength) and the amount of heat the degree of swelling varies. (See also “Paint (Solvent / Alcohol) Swelling”)

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is readily available and like acetone, it dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds. It is also relatively non-toxic and evaporates quickly. Thus it is used widely as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid [Wikipedia]


Mineral oil - can be used to clean heavier oil stains by diluting and liquefying the other oils, rendering the oils more accessible to detergents.
Likewise, it can be employed to de-gum, to remove adhesive residue left by adhesive tape. Be cognizant that while it can be used as a solvent cleaner it can leave a residue, which is undesirable for paint cleaning applications.

Denatured alcohol (or Methylated spirits) - is ethanol that has additives to make it more poisonous or unpalatable, and thus, undrinkable. Do not use denatured alcohol as a substitute for Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)

Distilled water

Potable water usually contains a number of microscopic contaminants (turbidity) along with dissolved minerals such as calcium and iron. Distilled water should ideally be nothing but hydrogen and oxygen molecules and virtually all of its impurities are removed through distillation, which involves boiling the water and re-condensing the steam into a clean container (pH 6.0 – 7.5)

Any dissolved solids such as salt, bacteria, calcium or iron remain solid while the pure water converts to a much lighter steam and is drawn out for condensation, leaving most if not all solid contaminants behind. Distilled water is preferred for dilution as it’s a ‘known’ quality, unlike domestic potable water

In larger chemical and biological laboratories, as well as industry, cheaper alternatives such as deionised water are preferred over distilled water.

Application - fill a fine misting spray bottle with a 1:10 solution (Wurth Citrus Degreaser or P21S Total Auto Wash) / distilled water, and then spray the surface you have just polished and allow the solution sit for approximately 15 seconds.

Agitate the area with a clean panel wipe or a soft 100% cotton micro fibre towel (you may need to repeat this process) change the towel to a fresh quarter after each panel to ensure oil and debris are not re-deposited and observe. This should have removed any wax or oils that may have filled any remaining swirls and show the true post-polish surface condition. If a diluted IPA solution doesn’t remove the surface oils perhaps a specific paint preparation product, i.e. CarPro Intense Oil & Polish Cleanser or DuPont PrepSol II™ may be more suitable

Now using your surface inspection light, shine the light directly on the panel and look for fine swirls. If they are still present, you should be able to see them. If not you will see a clear bright reflection from the panel with a great shine, and clarity


Authors Profile



[EDIT: 12/07 - Solvents added]

Edited by TOGWT, 07 December 2011 - 02:28 AM.

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#2 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:15 AM

This is an "excellent" presentation!

I can not recommend enough, that everyone who truly wishes to understand the finishes they are so concerned about, take the time to read this, not once, not twice, but at least three times, then print it out and keep it for reference.

For decades I have presented basically the same to those who wish to detail, make it their chosen work, or have a real love for keeping their finishes in good shape.
However, since there is no "WOW" factor for most, no big advertising campaign, nice bottles and boxes, or peers who take the time to educate theirselves, it usually goes over most heads, plus it does require some "thinking" and "acceptance" of documented facts.
As I opened the classroom portion of the ValuGard PrepExcellence Training Course for years, ----

I would first ask the students what makes a "professional", and who are professional's that they deal with and trust, and why?
Doctors, accountants, SAE certified technicans, I-CAR trained and certified bodyshop technicans, etc, etc were the normal replies and all of these are correct.

The next question was "how does one become a professional such as these, what is the path to being a professional?"

1. Education
2. Knowledge - that is the result of 1.
3. Diagnoistic--resulting skills that come from 1 and 2.
4. Performance of correct process or procedure--results of 1,2,3
5. Continuing education--Change is constant and one must accept and pursue continuing knowledge due to these changes.

Very, very fine presentation of real facts!
I commend you!
Grumpy
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#3 Accumulator

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 09:19 AM

TOGWT- I too commend you on an excellent post!

It makes me think "one more reason to use PrepWash instead of IPA", but I guess that's a bit of a generalization.

Oh, and it's good to see somebody differentiating between adsorption and absorption :xyxthumbs I hadn't thought if it in this particular context before either.

Ron Ketcham- How would New Car Prep figure into this discussion? What about washing with "A" to remove polish oils/etc.?
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#4 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 06:50 PM

As stated in the very informative article, these things will happen.

Some are very bad, some are short time swelling, things happen, they are part of the process.

When using products with some sort of real testing and documentation of the testing, one is able to make wise decisions regarding what products they may trust and use.

What, if one reads carefully, is how the various "solvents" affect the paint film chemistry or "cross-linking" in the over all time span.

Do you recall my post somewhere regarding the use of the three basic solvents used at OEM level for the final clearcoat application?

The last of the solvents is referred to as a "tailing solvent" which allows the clear to "flow out", creating less of the "orange peel" of the clear?

That part of the solvent system is what determines what the final finish flow out is to create the surface one sees.

As I stated then, some complained about how some GM models had a "soft clear", but that was due to the change that some GM paint engineers required of the paint supplier regarding that amount of the "tailing solvent" in the formulation.

This is also noticed in some higher end models of many automotive manufacturers.

Solvents, they are a key part of not only applying the paint finish, but also how they are cared for.

The article does address these sort of differences. (in other words, the importance of reading and leaving the ego behind while doing so is very important-don't spend time using up brain power to enforce one's ego, creating a response of disagreement, just read and think, consider what one is reading)

What he says is the same as I learned from the OEM"s paint engineering groups as well as their suppliers, be they PPG, DuPont or BASF, and Sherwin Williams. I have followed this path for all my professional career and it has served me very well.

To make this a less challenging to most who read this, (and notice that while the post is of one that is much than "what wax to use or what lasts the longest" not many replies/views to this wonderful and informative post.), are to be seen.

What is stated, and I am in complete agreement with, is this.

"The use of "clorinated solvents" in the detailing process, while may appear to be a quick resolution to many issues, " will result in a damage to the paint finish within a varying time frame."

These sort of solvents are indentified in his post.

I am impressed with the true and honest research (I am aware of many of his sources and they are correct) that was done (let alone the amount of time spent in the research and typing of the documented research), he committed to such.

As I stated earlier, from one with decades of working with the vehicle manufacturers and their finish "I TIP MY HAT TO HIM!"

Now, how does one get the "want-a-be's" to move up to less ego and more "education" on the subject they profess to be so concerned regarding?

How does any of us, challenge those who profess to want to know, to have knowledge, deal with, todays paint, trim, interiors to move beyond the "mass advertising" and "peer pressure" that is seen on the

Not sure it can be done in today's "texting", easy access to "I am the expert" etc available, of those who use the ways of today to infulence people. After all " I read it on the internet, so it must be right" mind set of today.

Grumpy

#5 PiPUK

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 11:32 PM

Isopropyl alcohol

[Anhydrous Isopropyl alcohol [Molecular formula C3H8O] for all-purpose cleaning, isopropyl alcohol, is a colourless liquid with a pleasant odour, and is highly flammable. A miscible clear fluid, Flash point 53.0F (12.0C) closed cup]

Made from 70 to 95% ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, along with water, acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and additives to give it a bitter taste, some rubbing alcohol includes perfumes or artificial colouring. Reagent Grade Isopropyl Alcohol, is a chemical grade of highest purity (99.8%) that meets or exceeds purity standards set by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and meets essential laboratory requirements

For less dense (soft) clear coat, the lower rate of isopropyl alcohol dilution (1:10) is recommended; conversely denser (hard) clear coats should use a higher dilution (1:25); as you increase the dilution rate of isopropyl alcohol its paint softening effect drops exponentially.

Isopropyl alcohol is a fast evaporating solvent and at higher ambient temperatures will filly evaporate (flash) within ~30minutes at higher temperatures. At greater dilution percentages it will evaporate more slowly, bear this in mind in warmer environments.

A recommended isopropyl alcohol (IPA) dilution of 1:10-25 (10-25%) in distilled water as a ‘safe’ surface wipedown cleaning solution. The reason for this wide range is due to the variations in the clear coat paint systems

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and or other solvents will permeate the paint, causing it to both soften and produce some swelling. Depending on the solvent (strength) and the amount of heat the degree of swelling varies. (See also “Paint (Solvent / Alcohol) Swelling”)

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is readily available and like acetone, it dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds. It is also relatively non-toxic and evaporates quickly. Thus it is used widely as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid [Wikipedia]


Mineral oil - can be used to clean heavier oil stains by diluting and liquefying the other oils, rendering the oils more accessible to detergents.
Likewise, it can be employed to de-gum, to remove adhesive residue left by adhesive tape. Be cognizant that while it can be used as a solvent cleaner it can leave a residue, which is undesirable for paint cleaning applications.


Denatured alcohol (or Methylated spirits) - is ethanol that has additives to make it more poisonous or unpalatable, and thus, undrinkable. Do not use denatured alcohol as a substitute for Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)


A few things needing clarified here. You have basically stated that Isopropanol is Made from 70 to 95% ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, along with water, acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and additives to give it a bitter taste. I presume this is a mistake because Isopropanol is isopropanol - ethanol is ethanol. They are distinct solvents. What you have described is much closer to the thing you have noted further down - Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits. It could also be confused with rubbing alcohol (which can be IPA or EtOH) but rubbing alcohol would not have the nasty contaminants you note. Isopropanol, whether a technical, surgical or analytical grade will be % isopropanol. If it is labelled as such, the remaining % will be water with some (very) minor tolerance for contaminants. If it had the things you noted, it would simply not be isopropanol and I would encourage you to report any occurrence of such a product to your local safety organisation as the vendor will be breaking the law.

Denatured alcohol - why the bad press? It is 90% EtOH, 9.5% methanol. There is a smidge of something else in there which would not be volatile so could leave a residue but this is water soluble and at 0.5% is present at lower levels that the surfactants which are added to some popular products like Eraser - so this should not be a major issue. We would use large amounts of IDA in the cleaning industry and it is often used in preference to IPA because it is less irritating to user skin and mucous membrances. As you can probably guess, since it is used for cleaning glass and mirrors, it does not leave residues. If there is a good reason to avoid it, I would love to know what it is...

Mineral oils - to what are you referring? There are probably dozens of mineral solvents being used for automotive cleaning purposes...

Last question... who has done the research on isopropanol and paint swelling? I have heard it talked about hundreds of times but no one can tell me who did the work and point me at the results. I personally have never seen any damage to automotive surfaces thanks to the use of IPA (other than the potential for 'swiping' but that is down to lack of lubrication more than anything else). On the other hand I have seen low volatility mineral spirits etch clear coat if allowed to bake in in direct sunlight. I think it would add a lot of weight to these discussions if we had some link to the actual evidence.

#6 Dan

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:45 AM

Last question... who has done the research on isopropanol and paint swelling? I have heard it talked about hundreds of times but no one can tell me who did the work and point me at the results. I personally have never seen any damage to automotive surfaces thanks to the use of IPA (other than the potential for 'swiping' but that is down to lack of lubrication more than anything else).


I'd love to see it as well. There is so much hearsay in detailing, another great example is how nothing sticks to Opticoat, people are still saying you can't put and LSP on top, an there is no shred of evidence to support that, just a fairy tale.

#7 TOGWT

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 06:35 AM

Take a look athttp://www.autopia.o...-polishing.html which will explain the theory.
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#8 PiPUK

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 08:24 AM

Like Dan says on the link, we do not doubt the theory but the practical reality is important here. If one were to quote theory, water vapor has the potential for permeating some painted surfaces and causing swelling but the practical reality is that it does not happen to an extent that there is any real world concern. What we want to know is whether their is any real data out there about the risk of IPA or whether the whole fuss about it is nothing more than regurgitated theory that no one has ever proved to be of significance...

#9 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:38 AM

I have seen and read test data from PPG, Sherwin-Williams and DuPont on this subject of IPA and paint. I wish I could have gotten a copy, but they are sort of sensitive about allowing expensive test data out to other than the vehicle manufacturers who purchase and use their products.
Both OEM and Refinish materials are tested for resistance or damage from most solvents, ranging from toulene, benzene(lot in gasoline), mineral spirits, IPA, lacquer thinner blends, MEK, and on and on.
The results of these tests is then often analized by the vehicle manufacturer and in many "owners manuals" are cautions and warning regarding the solvents that are most likely to create damage. The text is written in a very "user friendly" manner, since most vehicle owners do not have a chemical knowledge base to draw from.
An example is that most owners manuals instruct the owner to wipe off any gasoline spill on the paint when refueling, etc. Does not give all the technical, just tells them to do it.
Sort of like changing their oil. Doesn't go in depth as to what is taking place with moisture, sulfurs, etc, just change the oil at the recommended intervals.
I have no idea of where a lot of this "knowledge" given out by detail companies (most do not have either the lab test equipment, qualified people or known protocals) to come up with the B/S that is thrown about by many.

"Logic dictates I have been at this detailing thing way too many years!":wink1:

#10 PiPUK

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:52 AM

Thanks Ron,

Am I to presume that you could not be more specific about the harm of any specific solvent? Whilst we know that 'solvents' are best avoided, it would be nice to know where IPA falls relative to the like of methylated spirits or mineral spirits or xylene. I just find it very hard to swallow the scaremongering about simple alcohols when real world experience shows that xylene and other interesting hydrocarbon solvents (which, almost anywhere else in the world, are going to be more hazardous) manage to be used as panel wipes or tar removers with very little in the way of ill effect.

#11 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 11:25 AM

Those with years of experience and education regarding "hydrocarbon solvents', cross linkers, film formers, binders, etc are aware that most all clorinated solvents are high VOC content, and evaporate very quickly from surfaces.
These can be slowed down and allowed to penetrate and start to break apart the binder/film former and other parts of a paint system.
Example as you and Jon are aware is what happens if one soaks a towel or such with most of these solvents and allows to to stay in a liquid form on the paint surface.
Things come apart. Damage is done.
Over my decades in the business, found time after time, damage done to paint surfaces by someone soaking a towel with lacquer thinner and allowing it to stay wet/liquid on the paint as they think or believe, that by doing so they can remove glue, tar, etc, which it does do.
Later, that area of the paint or trim surface is destroyed.
Those all important portions of the paint film, such as the binders/film formers, etc are taken apart by the incorrect use of an incorrect solvent as they "chase the dream for a quick fix".
Needless to say, many solvents will do the same, maybe not as drastic of damage, but will compromise the paint system, creating pre-mature failure of the paint, plastic, rubber, etc.

"Logic dictates I have been at this detailing thing way too many years!":wink1:

#12 PiPUK

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 01:53 PM

You are being cagey there, Ron! I will take the assumption that this means that none of us can actually highlight anything definitive with regards to the damaging effects observed with IPA (or other light alcohols, for that matter).

#13 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:43 PM

Explain? All I was attempting to do was to point out that most of those who talk about this subject of solvents, are usually leaving out the basics when it comes to what and why?
"Logic dictates I have been at this detailing thing way too many years!":wink1:

#14 PiPUK

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:07 PM

Explain? All I was attempting to do was to point out that most of those who talk about this subject of solvents, are usually leaving out the basics when it comes to what and why?


Apologies, I misinterpreted. Lets forget generalisations and focus:

Is there real world data showing isopropanol to actually cause significant swelling or other effects?

You have noted the tests that companies do but gave no indication of how IPA fared in these tests. How does it compare relative to other (stronger by my assertion) solvents which are commonly used on paint work?

#15 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 04:24 PM

Since IPA evaporates so quickly, according to all that I read, does NO damage, other than break down waxes, etc.
It is used extensively by ports to accelerate moisture entrapped in clears that have transit wrap on them where moisture gets underneath and "clouds" the clear, for years. IPA, due to it's chemical makeup, works as a "drying agent" for the removal of moisture from paint films.
The one, 12 page test data I was able to keep, is from Chrysler, but deals with enviormental damanging chemicals and UV exposure.
It shows how "water" and "soap" enters the paint film, which paint systems by DuPont, BASF and PPG are most resistant, etc.
Also addresses various acids in the enviorment, UV exposure, uses xeon test chambers exporsure, heat, addresses crock marring, loss of gloss, etc.
According to the test results, using the OEM paint systems of the time of the three, plus one PPG refinish material, all absorbed some water into the paint film.
It would be reasoned that IPA, since most percentages contain an amount of water, that the IPA entered as well.
No damage from such exposure to the IPA percentage is shown.
That said, the test results I have, did not address the use of any other solvents, since that was not the focus of the test protocal.
The test was to look at how the Master Shield Paint Sealant performed and it did excellent, which is why Chrysler continues to market it under their brand.
It does contains a percentage of hydrocarbon solvents as the cleaners and carriers.
That's as far as it went, I just have to go from memory regarding the test papers (keep in mind, I am old and these reads took place over 10 to 6 years ago) I was able to read from the paint companies and vehicle manufacturers paint engineers, and can not recall any damage resulting from the normal "wipe on, wipe off" of IPA, unlike clorinated and some aromatic's, alaphatic's.

"Logic dictates I have been at this detailing thing way too many years!":wink1:

#16 PiPUK

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:11 AM

Thanks Ron. You are basically holding the same view as me but it is good to know I am not alone.

Perhaps TOGWT might chime in here because he has made some pretty definitive statements about IPA.

For less dense (soft) clear coat, the lower rate of isopropyl alcohol dilution (1:10) is recommended; conversely denser (hard) clear coats should use a higher dilution (1:25); as you increase the dilution rate of isopropyl alcohol its paint softening effect drops exponentially.


A recommended isopropyl alcohol (IPA) dilution of 1:10-25 (10-25%) in distilled water as a ‘safe’ surface wipedown cleaning solution.


For instance, who is making these recommendations and on what grounds? From where has the exponential softening relationship with regards to dilution come? Are these based on something rigorous or is this just restatement of detailing myth?

#17 Detailed Designs Auto Spa

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 03:45 PM

Excellent piece Jon.


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#18 TOGWT

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 02:45 AM

Thank you...


Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

#19 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 08:03 PM

Jon, first, Happy Turkey Day this week!

Regarding  this subject, but not really, however along the same "line", regarding the way that those who chose to not think and address what they are "really dealing" with regarding a modern paint finish and "how difficult a particular color" is to deal with. Some many go on and on about a "color" of a "brand" of vehicle has a "color" that creates a concern for them when attempting to do a correct to imperfections on such vehicles.

I asked a very simple "think about it" question in my response. 

Simply, it is this. 

The vehicle, no matter what brand, no matter what "color", today in 99% of the vehicles, are "clear coated". 

I.E., they are not placing their whatever buffer or selected product on the "color", but on the "clear coat" of the vehicle's finish.

The "base coat" that is "under the clear coat" provides the "color" and depending on the light "refraction" will high light any imperfections.

Why is it that most can not understand and accept this most basic of today's paint tech regarding the paint systems used today?

Is it that they can not grasp the facts of the paint systems used today, that they refuse to accept the facts of such?

Worked at all levels of the paint tech with 9 of the leading vehicle manufacturers in the WORLD  and their paint suppliers for longer than most are alive today, it is a thing that I just don't get. 

Is it that these people depend on sources that only agree with their limited knowledge or they "buy" into the marketing of products advertising, to their "peers", who in reality have no more knowledge than them but with enough posts, gain a following?

Jump in here, Jon, and PiPUK, as it seems we are the only ones who have enough chemical and real years of experience to continue to attempt to provide some true, factual education on such matters.


"Logic dictates I have been at this detailing thing way too many years!":wink1:

#20 Jesstzn

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 12:50 PM

Thanks Ron. You are basically holding the same view as me but it is good to know I am not alone.

Perhaps TOGWT might chime in here because he has made some pretty definitive statements about IPA.





For instance, who is making these recommendations and on what grounds? From where has the exponential softening relationship with regards to dilution come? Are these based on something rigorous or is this just restatement of detailing myth?

I too would like to see TOGWTs response.






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