Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings


Chemistry & Biochemistry


Dr. Ray Fernando




Douglas James Herrick

Waterborne coatings are formulated with a number of different ingredients; water, latex polymers, pigments, surfactants, dispersants, defoamers, biocides, coalescing aids, and rheology modifiers or thickeners. Rheology modifiers are necessary in order to improve the physical properties of the coating before, during, and after application to a substrate. There are two kinds of rheology modifiers used in waterborne coatings; associative thickeners and non-associative thickeners. Coatings formulated with associative thickeners are quite sensitive to coating variations; the slightest change in the formulation has profound effects on the rheology of the coating. The opposite is true for coatings formulated with non-associative thickeners, where the rheology of the coating is not affected by minor changes in the formulation. The rheological properties of coatings are most influenced by the latex, thickener, and surfactant components of the coating. Previous studies have shown that the most ideal balance of rheological properties come from using associative thickeners. However, when waterborne coatings with associative thickeners are tinted with colorants containing high levels of surfactants they exhibit a significant decrease in viscosity. This change in viscosity results in poor sag resistance, poor brush loading, and may also cause a reduction in tint strength of the coating.

In this work, the effect of tinting paints with six different colorants on the viscosity of the paint was studied for four different paint formulations: a pastel base and a deeptone base formulated with hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC-type) non-associative thickeners, and a pastel base and a deeptone base formulated with hydrophobically-modified, ethoxylated polyurethane (HEUR-type) associative thickeners. Gloss values and tinting strengths were obtained in accordance with ASTM methods D523-08 and D4838-88. In addition, dynamic stress and frequency sweeps were taken in order to study the effect of colorant addition on the viscoelastic properties of each sample. Colorant addition had little to no effects on the viscosity of the bases formulated with HEC thickeners, while there was a dramatic decrease in viscosity upon colorant addition to the bases with HEUR thickeners. Similar results were observed in the viscoelastic property analysis: little to no effects on the elastic and viscous moduli was seen with the tinted coatings formulated with the non-associative thickeners, while both the elastic and viscous moduli decreased for the coatings formulated with associative thickeners. A few of the deeptone bases showed increased moduli upon tinting compared to the parent deeptone base. The addition of colorant resulted in a decrease in tinting strength and an increase in gloss for those samples with associative thickeners, while the opposite was found for those samples with non-associative thickeners.