High Performance & Special Effect Pigments

By Kerry Pianoforte | August 10, 2005

High performance and special effect pigments suppliers are constantly being challenged to come up with brighter and more eye-catching pigments to meet the demands of today's fickle consumers. These higher-priced pigments are especially popular in the automotive market, where eye-appeal and durability are key.

"While high performance pigments as a class do have higher prices than the medium performance or economic classes of pigments, the value in use of an HPP can be very high, making it cost effective," said Tom Landuydt, marketing manager, transportation coatings, coatings effect business segment, Ciba Specialty Coatings. "For example, HPPs are used in automotive applications where high durability is demanded along with high chroma and unique styling possibilities."

Ciba has launched two new high performance pigments, Irgazin DPP red ultra opaque and Irgazin Red 179, that can be used mainly for automotive coatings. According to Mr. Landuydt, Irgazin DPP red ultra opaque offers excellent opacity with high color strength, excellent durability, very good heat stability which allows application in coil and powder coatings and new styling possibilities in the bordeaux shade area.

Ford recently unveiled the new 2004 SVT Mustang Cobra Mystichrome color-shifting paint scheme, a new take on the 1996 Mystic Mustang (see Coatings World, March/April 1997 p.102). Described by Alan Eggley, Ford's color and trim director for North America, as Mystic paint on "steroids," the DuPont coating has a "pinch" of aluminum flakes that provide it with a metallic sparkle.

"Irgazin DPP red ultra opaque is one of the most opaque HP red pigments in the market, allowing for excellent hiding at lower film builds or lower pigment concentrations," Mr. Landuydt said. Irgazin red 179 offers excellent dispersion characteristics both in waterborne as well as solventborne applications, good rheological behavior, especially in high solid systems and typical bluish red PR 179 coloristics BASF's latest offering for the automobile industry is Variocrom color variable pigments. Variocrom pigments can also be used in industrial applications.

"Variocrom allows stylings with dramatic or subtle color travel," said Werner Peter, business director, performance chemicals for coatings, plastics and specialties, NAFTA, BASF Corp. Mr. Werner noted that the line can be combined with many conventional pigments in order to create thousands of changing colors.

Developing cost effective high performance pigments is another priority for suppliers. According to Mr. Werner, BASF's Xfast pigments were developed in order to eliminate the grinding process at the coatings manufacturer. "The pigment does not require milling or high speed dispersing anymore. Xfast can just be stirred in," he added. Because of this the pigments offer users cost savings, dust reduction, easy shading process and simplified cleaning.

-Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor

For a list of new high-performance and special effect pigments, please see the print version of this article.

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