Whether it needs to be mirror-like, smooth or way beyond, our expert chemists know exactly how to make paints with precisely the kind of glossy appearance our customers are looking for.
Now that might all sound fairly straightforward. But in order to fully understood the technical challenges that are involved, you need to delve beneath the surface. Because gloss is really just a more familiar word for some rather intricate physics.
Let’s start with the refractive index. It’s a bit complex, but one of the things it does is describe how fast light travels through a particular material and how much light reflects off its surface. So, for example, there’s a big difference between light hitting a diamond and a flat body of water (which is much less reflective, but just as smooth). Yes, both surfaces reflect light, but in very different amounts, and our paints vary somewhere between the two.
“When developing our 3D color tools, our scientists also have to consider the direction in which light is scattered once it reflects off our paint, “ explains AkzoNobel Color Researcher, Ivo van der Lans.
“Take the light from a lamp, for example. If viewed in reverse (from the paint surface back to the lamp), your eye will see a sharp, mirrored image of a single lamp when it’s reflected in a smooth, glossy paint. However, when viewed via a medium gloss paint, your eye will see a blurred image of the same lamp. And if it’s a matt paint, you may well see a confusion of multiple lamps reflected towards your eye.”
This doesn’t just apply to lamps, but any environment that’s reflected off a painted surface. So we take great care when designing 3D environments to ensure that they assist – rather than prevent – our customers appreciating the full extent of the paint’s glossy appearance.