Glossary

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Hover over the term for the full description.
Abrasion
Wearing away of paint film by some external force, such as sanding.
Wearing away of paint film by some external force, such as sanding.
Abrasive
Substance used to wear away or smooth a surface by friction.
Substance used to wear away or smooth a surface by friction.
Absorb
The penetration of a solid substance by a liquid as by capillary, osmotic, solvent, or chemical acti…
The penetration of a solid substance by a liquid as by capillary, osmotic, solvent, or chemical action.
Accelerate
To speed up a process.
To speed up a process.
Accelerator
A substance that when added to a paint will speed up the rate of cure.
A substance that when added to a paint will speed up the rate of cure.
Acetone
A very fast evaporating solvent with high solvency for certain types of compounds and resins. Has a …
A very fast evaporating solvent with high solvency for certain types of compounds and resins. Has a characteristic ether-like odor.
Acid
An inorganic or organic compound that (1) reacts with metals to yield hydrogen; (2) reacts with a ba…
An inorganic or organic compound that (1) reacts with metals to yield hydrogen; (2) reacts with a base to form a salt; (3) dissociates in water to yield hydrogen or hydronium ions; (4) has a pH of less than 7.0. They are corrosive to human tissue and should be handled with care. Examples are hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid.
Acid Rain
Forms when pollution is combined with water in the atmosphere. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxid…
Forms when pollution is combined with water in the atmosphere. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides mix with water molecules, they form weak sulfuric and nitric acids. As the water evaporates the acids gain strength and can etch the finish of any vehicle upon which they have been deposited. 
Acrylic
A coating based on a polymer containing short chain esters of acrylic and methacrylic acid. Acrylics…
A coating based on a polymer containing short chain esters of acrylic and methacrylic acid. Acrylics were once widely used as automotive topcoats. 
Acrylic Urethane
A coating based on urethane chemistry which also includes acrylic chemistry as part of the cross-lin…
A coating based on urethane chemistry which also includes acrylic chemistry as part of the cross-linked polymer backbone.
Activator
A necessary component used to provide a chemical reaction to cure paint.
A necessary component used to provide a chemical reaction to cure paint.
Additives
Chemical substances added to a finish in relatively small amounts to impart or improve desirable pro…
Chemical substances added to a finish in relatively small amounts to impart or improve desirable properties. Examples include UV screeners, flow agents, and fish eye eliminators. 
Adhesion
The phenomenon by which one material is attached to another by means of surface attraction. 
The phenomenon by which one material is attached to another by means of surface attraction. 
Agglomerate
Clumps of pigment particles which have formed loose clusters. Usually undesirable in paint, since ag…
Clumps of pigment particles which have formed loose clusters. Usually undesirable in paint, since agglomerates tend to settle out and exhibit seed or poor color. 
Agitator
A paint mixer.
A paint mixer.
Agitator Cup
Paint cup used with high metallics and pearls to keep the pigment particles in suspension by continu…
Paint cup used with high metallics and pearls to keep the pigment particles in suspension by continually mixing the paint. This ensures better color uniformity. 
Air Cap
The front of a spray gun nozzle that directs compressed air against the paint to form and shape an a…
The front of a spray gun nozzle that directs compressed air against the paint to form and shape an atomized cloud of droplets.
Air Dry
The ability of a coating to dry or cure to its ultimate hardness under normal atmospheric conditions…
The ability of a coating to dry or cure to its ultimate hardness under normal atmospheric conditions, without bake. Measurement of time required must state conditions such as temperature and humidity.
Air Spray
A system of applying paint in the form of tiny droplets. The paint is broken into droplets (atomized…
A system of applying paint in the form of tiny droplets. The paint is broken into droplets (atomized) by a spray gun as a result of being forced into a high velocity air stream. The shape and paint density of the resulting droplet cloud can be controlled by air pressure, paint viscosity and gun tip geometry. 
Airless Spray
A system of applying paint in which the paint, under high pressure, is passed through a nozzle and b…
A system of applying paint in which the paint, under high pressure, is passed through a nozzle and broken into droplets when it enters the lower pressure region outside the gun tip. 
Alkyd
A coating based on a polyester binder. Such polyesters are chemical combinations of molecules that c…
A coating based on a polyester binder. Such polyesters are chemical combinations of molecules that contain more than one acid or alcohol group. 
Aluminum
Metal used as a substrate or a pigment.
Metal used as a substrate or a pigment.
Aluminum Oxide
Sharp and hard abrasive.
Sharp and hard abrasive.
Ambient Temperature
Temperature of the air surrounding an object.
Temperature of the air surrounding an object.
Anionic Electrodeposition
One of the electrocoating methods in which the body is charged positively and the paint negatively. …
One of the electrocoating methods in which the body is charged positively and the paint negatively. Frequently used for OEM primer application. 
Anodizing
An electrolic surface treatment for aluminum which builds up an aluminum oxide coating, to provide b…
An electrolic surface treatment for aluminum which builds up an aluminum oxide coating, to provide better adhesion. 
Anticorrosive
Protective coating applied on metal surfaces to prevent corrosion. 
Protective coating applied on metal surfaces to prevent corrosion. 
Anti-skinning Agents
Chemicals added to a paint to help prevent the formation of a surface film.
Chemicals added to a paint to help prevent the formation of a surface film.
Applied Solids
Solids that remain on the substrate being coated or painted.
Solids that remain on the substrate being coated or painted.
Aqueous
Describes a water-based solution or suspension.
Describes a water-based solution or suspension.
Aromatics
A type of solvent based on benzene ring molecules. 
A type of solvent based on benzene ring molecules. 
Atomization
The formation of tiny droplets of liquid as in the paint spraying process. Atomization is usually ca…
The formation of tiny droplets of liquid as in the paint spraying process. Atomization is usually caused by turbulence in an air stream, or a sudden drop in pressure.
Back Sanding
Technique of sanding a surface to taper the paint film away from the metal repaired area.
Technique of sanding a surface to taper the paint film away from the metal repaired area.
Backing
The base material of sandpaper onto which abrasive grains are coated. For masking tape, the backing …
The base material of sandpaper onto which abrasive grains are coated. For masking tape, the backing is the paper section without the adhesive. 
Backing Pad
A supporting pad, for abrasive disc and/or buffing pads, that is attached to a buffer or a DA sander…
A supporting pad, for abrasive disc and/or buffing pads, that is attached to a buffer or a DA sander. In the compounding, glazing or polishing operation, a foam or wool polishing or glazing pad is attached on top of the backup pad. In dry sanding operations an abrasive disc is attached to the face of the back-up pad. 
Baffle
A part used in a spray gun to direct the air stream.
A part used in a spray gun to direct the air stream.
Baking
Application of heat to cure and dry a coating. In automotive refinishing, baking is used to speed up…
Application of heat to cure and dry a coating. In automotive refinishing, baking is used to speed up the drying of air-drying finishes and is sometimes called force drying. The metal temperature in refinish baking usually does not exceed 180 degrees F. 
Balancer
Additive used to balance color formula in proportion to size and pigment-to-binder ratio.
Additive used to balance color formula in proportion to size and pigment-to-binder ratio.
Base
Bases react with acids to form salts and water. Bases have a pH greater than 7 and turn litmus paper…
Bases react with acids to form salts and water. Bases have a pH greater than 7 and turn litmus paper blue. They may be corrosive to human tissue and are to be handled with care. 
Basecoat
A color coat requiring a clearcoat. The basecoat provides color effects and appearance, while the cl…
A color coat requiring a clearcoat. The basecoat provides color effects and appearance, while the clearcoat provides gloss as well as UV and chemical resistance.
Binder
The paint material that forms the film. So-called because it binds the pigment and any additives pre…
The paint material that forms the film. So-called because it binds the pigment and any additives present into a solid durable film.
Bleeding
A defect in which pigment from a lower coat of paint diffuses into an upper coat and discolors the l…
A defect in which pigment from a lower coat of paint diffuses into an upper coat and discolors the latter. A nonbleeding color is one that is not soluble in materials used over it and consequently does not work up into succeeding layers. Body filler will also cause bleeding.
Blistering
The development of hollow bubbles or water droplets in a paint film. Blistering is usually caused by…
The development of hollow bubbles or water droplets in a paint film. Blistering is usually caused by the expansion of air or moisture trapped beneath the film. It can occur rapidly or over a long period of time after application. Blistering may also occur from the presence of unreacted acid within the paint film. 
Block Painting (Blending)
Repainting of an entire single component, such as a door or fender, with the boundary area shaded fo…
Repainting of an entire single component, such as a door or fender, with the boundary area shaded for matching. 
Blooming
A powder-like deposit which sometimes forms on the surface of a paint. It is often the result of a s…
A powder-like deposit which sometimes forms on the surface of a paint. It is often the result of a solvent component partly dissolving the pigment(s) and then depositing them on the surface below the dew point.
Blushing
The appearance of whitish or "cloudy" areas in a paint film, caused by absorption and rete…
The appearance of whitish or "cloudy" areas in a paint film, caused by absorption and retention of moisture in a drying paint film.
Body Filler (Bondo)
A heavy-bodied plastic filler material which cures very hard and is used to fill small dents in meta…
A heavy-bodied plastic filler material which cures very hard and is used to fill small dents in metal.
Bodying
Thickening in the package, usually due to evaporation of solvents or volatile material because of ex…
Thickening in the package, usually due to evaporation of solvents or volatile material because of exposure to heat or air.
Bridging
A characteristic of undercoat performance that occurs when a scratch or surface imperfection is not …
A characteristic of undercoat performance that occurs when a scratch or surface imperfection is not completely filled. It's caused by under-reducing the primer or using too fast a solvent and can lead to the appearance of sandscratches in the finished repair. 
Bronzing
The formation of a metallic-appearing haze on a paint film.
The formation of a metallic-appearing haze on a paint film.
Buffing
A technique used to polish an area to remove sanding marks or surface imperfections.
A technique used to polish an area to remove sanding marks or surface imperfections.
Buffing Compound
A soft paste containing fine abrasive in a neutral medium, used to eliminate fine scratches and poli…
A soft paste containing fine abrasive in a neutral medium, used to eliminate fine scratches and polish the topcoat. 
Build
The amount of paint film deposited on a substrate (the depth or thickness of which is measured in mi…
The amount of paint film deposited on a substrate (the depth or thickness of which is measured in mils).
Bulls-eye
Edge of a repaired area of a paint film that shows up after a surface has been repainted.
Edge of a repaired area of a paint film that shows up after a surface has been repainted.
Butyl Acetate
A medium-evaporating solvent used in paint.
A medium-evaporating solvent used in paint.
Cadmium
A metal used to manufacture durable but expensive red and yellow pigments.
A metal used to manufacture durable but expensive red and yellow pigments.
Calcium
A metal component of driers and pigments.
A metal component of driers and pigments.
Calcium Carbonate
An extender pigment, also known as "whiting."
An extender pigment, also known as "whiting."
Carbitol
A slow lacquer solvent of the ether-alcohol type.
A slow lacquer solvent of the ether-alcohol type.
Carbon Black
A black pigment manufactured by collecting the carbon resulting from incomplete combustion of natura…
A black pigment manufactured by collecting the carbon resulting from incomplete combustion of natural gas. 
Catalyst
A substance that changes the rate of a chemical reaction when it is mixed with another substance and…
A substance that changes the rate of a chemical reaction when it is mixed with another substance and that does not change or react. A catalyst differs from a curing agent in that the catalyst is not itself chemically consumed in the reaction while a curing agent is consumed. Technically, catalysts that increase reaction rates are called accelerators; those which decrease reaction rates are called inhibitors or retarders. 
Cationic Electrodeposition
One of the electrocoating (E-coat) methods in which the body is charged negatively and the paint pos…
One of the electrocoating (E-coat) methods in which the body is charged negatively and the paint positively. The cationic method is superior to the anionic method in terms of corrosion. Frequently used for OEM primer application. 
Caulking
Sealing used in joints to prevent the passage of fluid (commonly moisture) or gas. 
Sealing used in joints to prevent the passage of fluid (commonly moisture) or gas. 
Centipoise
A unit for the measurement of viscosity. 
A unit for the measurement of viscosity. 
Chalking
The degradation of a paint film by gradual erosion of the binder, typically due to weathering. It is…
The degradation of a paint film by gradual erosion of the binder, typically due to weathering. It is characterized by loose pigment particles on the surface of the paint. 
Checking
A type of failure of paint film in which cracks in the film begin at the surface and progress downwa…
A type of failure of paint film in which cracks in the film begin at the surface and progress downward. The result is usually a straight v-shaped crack which is narrower at the bottom than the top. 
Chemical Cartridge Respirator
A respirator which uses a cartridge containing various chemical substances to purify inhaled air of …
A respirator which uses a cartridge containing various chemical substances to purify inhaled air of certain gases and vapors.
Chemical Staining
Spotty discoloration of the topcoat sometimes caused by environmental conditions (acid rain, tree sa…
Spotty discoloration of the topcoat sometimes caused by environmental conditions (acid rain, tree sap, etc.) It also can be caused by improper activation of body filler which leads to staining of subsequent layers of topcoat. 
Chipping
Small flakes of a finish losing adhesion from the substrate. Usually caused by the impact of stones …
Small flakes of a finish losing adhesion from the substrate. Usually caused by the impact of stones or hard objects. 
Chroma
The level of saturation or intensity and richness of a color. Desaturated or "dirty" color…
The level of saturation or intensity and richness of a color. Desaturated or "dirty" colors have less chroma, saturated or "clean" colors have more chroma.
Chromate
A heavy metal used to provide corrosion protection to metal.
A heavy metal used to provide corrosion protection to metal.
Chromate
A heavy metal used to provide corrosion protection to metal.
A heavy metal used to provide corrosion protection to metal.
Chromate Rinse
The use of a chronic acid solution after zinc or iron phosphating to passivate the metal at the base…
The use of a chronic acid solution after zinc or iron phosphating to passivate the metal at the base of cracks and pinholes in the phospate. Chromate rinsing will greatly increase corrosion resistance. 
Clean Air Act
Effective December 31, 1970; the regulatory vehicle that sets and monitors airborne pollution hazard…
Effective December 31, 1970; the regulatory vehicle that sets and monitors airborne pollution hazardous to public health or natural resources. 
Cleaner
Material used to clean a substrate.
Material used to clean a substrate.
Cleaner Wax
A combination of wax and polish that contains mild abrasives. The abrasives remove minor paint imper…
A combination of wax and polish that contains mild abrasives. The abrasives remove minor paint imperfections. The wax and other ingredients produce a durable, high-gloss finish.
Clear Coat Paint
The clear, non-pigmented top coat that is applied over a colored base coat paint. Most late-model ca…
The clear, non-pigmented top coat that is applied over a colored base coat paint. Most late-model cars have factory-applied clear coat paints. Clear coat paint increases paint durability, gloss, and resistance to harmful environmental effects. 
Clearcoat
A paint containing no pigment or only transparent pigment, which provides gloss and durability when …
A paint containing no pigment or only transparent pigment, which provides gloss and durability when used as protection over a basecoat. 
Clogging
Condition where sandpaper becomes clogged by the abraded surface coating.
Condition where sandpaper becomes clogged by the abraded surface coating.
Clouding
The formation or presence of a haze in a liquid or in a film. 
The formation or presence of a haze in a liquid or in a film. 
Coaescence
The fusing or flowing of liquid particles. The term is frequently applied to waterborne coatings, wh…
The fusing or flowing of liquid particles. The term is frequently applied to waterborne coatings, which require coalescence to form a continuous film. 
Coating
The act of applying paint or the actual film left on the substrate by a paint. A single coat is prod…
The act of applying paint or the actual film left on the substrate by a paint. A single coat is produced by two passes of a spray gun, one overlapping the other in half steps. A double coat is two single coats with little or no flash time between them.
Cobwebbing
The tendency of sprayed paint to form strings or strands rather than droplets as it leaves the gun. …
The tendency of sprayed paint to form strings or strands rather than droplets as it leaves the gun. May be caused by too fast or improper solvent, or to much air pressure.
Cold Cracking
Cracking of a paint film resulting from a sudden drop in temperature, or repeated cycling from high …
Cracking of a paint film resulting from a sudden drop in temperature, or repeated cycling from high to low to high temperatures.
Color
The visual appearance of an object that can be described in terms of hue, value, and chroma. Colors …
The visual appearance of an object that can be described in terms of hue, value, and chroma. Colors are seen differently by different people and under different light conditions. 
Color Coat
The single-stage or basecoat that provides the visible color of a coating system. 
The single-stage or basecoat that provides the visible color of a coating system. 
Color Match
Achieved when the applied color duplicates all aspects of the original color's appearance in hue…
Achieved when the applied color duplicates all aspects of the original color's appearance in hue, value, and chroma.
Color Retention
The ability of a paint to maintain color under exposure to light, heat, moisture or other conditions…
The ability of a paint to maintain color under exposure to light, heat, moisture or other conditions of use. 
Color Sanding
The sanding of a paint film to prepare for buffing or recoating. 
The sanding of a paint film to prepare for buffing or recoating. 
Compliance Coating
A coating whose volatile organic compound (VOC) content does not exceed that allowed by regulation. …
A coating whose volatile organic compound (VOC) content does not exceed that allowed by regulation. Compliance coatings may be waterborne, low solvent, or powder. 
Compounding
Use of an abrasive material, either by hand or machine, to smooth and bring out the gloss of the app…
Use of an abrasive material, either by hand or machine, to smooth and bring out the gloss of the applied topcoat.
Contaminants
Any polish, wax, tree sap, tar, oil or the like that would damage the paint film or spoil the adhesi…
Any polish, wax, tree sap, tar, oil or the like that would damage the paint film or spoil the adhesion of a new paint film.
Conversion Coating
Part of a metal pretreatment system that modifies a metal substrate for improved paint adhesion and …
Part of a metal pretreatment system that modifies a metal substrate for improved paint adhesion and corrosion protection.
Converter
An additive used to provide a chemical reaction to cure paint.
An additive used to provide a chemical reaction to cure paint.
Copper
A difficult metal substrate to paint. Also used in the manufacture of pigments and driers. 
A difficult metal substrate to paint. Also used in the manufacture of pigments and driers. 
Corrosion
The decomposition of a metal in contact with its environment-a chemical reaction of oxygen and moist…
The decomposition of a metal in contact with its environment-a chemical reaction of oxygen and moisture or corrosive materials on a metal surface. Also called rusting or oxidation.
Coverage
The amount of area a volume of paint will cover at a certain thickness. Theoretical coverage is desc…
The amount of area a volume of paint will cover at a certain thickness. Theoretical coverage is described as the number of square feet a coating will cover at 1 mil film thickness.
Cracking
Splitting of a paint film. Cracking usually occurs as straight lines which penetrate the entire film…
Splitting of a paint film. Cracking usually occurs as straight lines which penetrate the entire film thickness and can be caused by over-baking or by application of excessive film builds. 
Cratering
Small round depressions in a paint film which may or may not expose the underlying surface. Frequent…
Small round depressions in a paint film which may or may not expose the underlying surface. Frequently caused by contamination of the substrate.
Crawling
The tendency of a wet paint film to recede from certain areas of a painted surface. Often caused by …
The tendency of a wet paint film to recede from certain areas of a painted surface. Often caused by the presence of contaminants on the surface.

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