Thermoset Versus Thermoplastic Powder Coating

Powder coating is a free-flowing, dry powder applied to material surfaces to create a strong durable bond. Unlike conventional liquid paint, delivered via an evaporating solvent, powder coating creates a bond electrostatically and then cured by heat.

Comparing Thermoset to Thermoplastic Powder Coating

Thermoset Powder Coating

There are two types of powder coating: thermoset and thermoplastic.

Thermoset powder coating creates a surface level that is durable and decorative. When heated, the resins melt to crosslink with other reactive substances. Doing so, forms compounds with higher molecular weight. After curing, the coating becomes stable. It cannot be melted back into a liquid. The resins are generally derived from epoxy, hydroxyl or carboxyl, acrylic, and silicone groups.

Thermoset powder coating is more commonly used than thermoplastic. It is more resistant to heat and is highly flexible. This makes it functional for more metal fabrication projects. Additionally, thermoset has a great aesthetic appearance.

Overview of Thermoset Advantages

  • Highly flexible
  • Enhanced structural integrity
  • Thick to thin wall capacity
  • Cheaper than thermoplastic powder coating
  • More resistant to heat

Thermoplastic Powder Coating

Thermoplastic powder coating is applied post heat to melt and encapsulate. It is typically applied with a corona gun. You will achieve a thicker, more durable finish.

While thermoplastic powder coating can be more difficult to apply, there is no micro-porosity. Thermoset leaves tiny pores which can be impacted overtime from water. The product has more protection from corrosion. Thermoplastic can increase the lifespan of your metal fabrication project. You will find thermoplastic powder coating often with outdoor metal fabrication products.

Overview of Thermoplastic Advantages

  • Non-porous
  • Durable in outdoor weather conditions
  • Remolding/reshaping capabilities
  • Chemical resistant
  • Rubbery surface options

There are disadvantages to both thermoset and thermoplastic powder coating. Thermoset cannot be reshaped or remolded. It is also heaver to achieve the same thickness as thermoplastic.

Overview of Thermoset Disadvantages

  • Cannot be reshaped of remolded
  • Heavier to achieve the same thickness as thermoplastic

Thermoplastic is usually more expensive than thermoset. It is also less resistant to heat which means it can melt in hot conditions.

Overview of Thermoplastic Disadvantages

  • More expensive
  • Less resistant to heat

If you’d like Meta Fab to quote your next metal project, please submit your RFQ here!

A metal fabrication expert can determine which is right for your project. Every product has a unique design and requirements that should be factored for the best results. Contact Meta Fab, Inc in Hillsboro, Oregon to get started on your metal fabrication project.

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