Interview: “Trends in effect pigments are based on performance”

Steven Jones, senior team leader for effect materials research at BASF Corporation, addresses trends in effect pigments for paints and coatings.

Interview: “Trends in effect pigments are based on performance”. Image source: Sebastian Duda -

What are the trends in effect pigments for paints and coatings? 

Steven Jones: Trends in effect pigments are based on performance. Automotive designers continue to use effect pigments to boost chroma and provide unique flop behaviours to achieve new colour spaces. Neutral colour travel is also a growing trend. North America traditionally embraced higher sparkle and flop stylings, while Europe embraced smoother appearances; but these trends are converging.

With expanded effect pigment diversity, stylists can now blend effect particle sizes to tune the desired level of visual texture, sparkle, and flop behaviour. For industrial coatings, there is increasing demand for metallic effect shades such as gold, brass, copper, and bronze with high sparkle.

What properties can effect pigments add to paints and coatings, apart from aesthetics?

Steven Jones

Senior team leader for effect materials research at BASF Corporation

Jones: In addition to the aesthetic properties, effect pigments can have several functional properties.Being inorganic pigments, they have superior weather stability and tremendous heat stability, allowing for higher temperature processing.

Hiding is another property of effect pigments and can be tailored to the requirements of the application. For example, a titanium dioxide coated mica effect pigment is used when transparency is desired, while iron oxide is used to provide more hiding. For applications that need higher hiding, aluminum-based effects provide a tremendous boost. Effect pigments based on perlite will provide an interesting haptic effect.

Which application fields for effect pigments do you consider the most exciting at the moment, and why? 

Jones: While the demand in automotive for novel high-performance effects will continue as appearance remains a critical buying factor, it is new applications for effect pigments that are the most exciting.

These new applications are in the industrial and architectural markets where a more diverse chromatic pallet along with higher film builds allow brand owners to select from a wide range of effects with a preference for socially and environmentally responsible suppliers. For example, effect pigments are being utilised at lower loading levels to create attractive and economical stylings for high-end industrial applications.

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