Should manufacturers switch to water based paints? - Industrial Physics Should manufacturers switch to water based paints? - Industrial Physics

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Should manufacturers switch to water based paints?

There’s been quite a move towards water based paints in recent years, thanks to a variety of environmental and safety concerns, but is it something you should be worrying about right now? We’ve put together some handy information to help you decide.

The move towards water-based paints

While solvent-based paints have many advantages, including longevity, viscosity and ease of application, there are some other important factors to take into consideration. Three big things currently influencing the uptake of water-based paints among manufacturers are:


Many solvent-based paints have high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These compounds are used in transferring paint from one surface to another and help paint dry more quickly and, generally, without the application of heat. However, the emissions that they give off have been shown to have a detrimental effect on the environment.


VOCs can also pose a safety risk to humans. Solvent-based paints include liquefying agents that evaporate via a chemical reaction with oxygen, these give off emissions that can be harmful to people who breathe them. As a result, government legislation everywhere from the UK to Hong Kong has been driving the search for alternatives. New European legislation coming into play in 2023 is also having a major impact. You can access training here.


The research and development of water based paints that are more able to compete with solvent-based varieties are offering manufacturers alternative options that previously wouldn’t have been viable. Today’s water based paints have low odor levels and more lasting power than the traditional offerings.

Water based paints and viscosity challenges

There have been some great strides forward when it comes to the production of water-based paints and the options available now far outweigh those of the past. There are, however, still some challenges to overcome – and a major challenge is viscosity.

Viscosity testing is essential for water based paints, as it helps you determine how the paint will react during the application process, how quickly it will dry and how long is needed before a second coat can be applied.

Viscosity testing with Industrial Physics

We have a variety of innovative viscosity testing machines ready to tackle the challenges of switching to water-based paints. These include:

Digital Krebs Viscometer

A modern testing machine is based on the popular traditional KREBS method. It uses a weight-driven rotating paddle to sense the paint viscosity at a constant 200 rpm.

Sheen Cone and Plate Viscometer

This is a fast and accurate machine that uses high precision microprocessor controls. It tightly controls the shear rate applied to 10,000S-1 (B.S./ ISO requirements) or to 12,000S-1 (ASTM).

Sheen RotoThinner

A flexible, two-in-one instrument that gives you a very high level of control during the viscosity reduction process whilst also providing very useful stability analysis.

Check out our full range of viscosity measuring equipment for essential accessories and more.

Help for all of your paint and coatings testing

With almost 100 years of experience and engineers working across the globe, we have a huge amount of knowledge when it comes to getting your paint and coatings test and inspection solutions right. Interested in hearing more? Get in touch.