We can analyse paint and inks either before or after they have been applied. One of the simplest types of analysis we carry out is a fingerprint comparison aimed at answering a question such as “Is this paint sample really Truelux Gloss?”. Although paints, unlike humans, do not yield unique fingerprints, we can use a number of different analytical fingerprinting techniques (e.g. FTIR, GC-MS and elemental analysis) to show whether two samples are so similar that it is highly probable that they have a common origin.
The ultimate in the analysis of paints and inks is to identify all the components present together with their relative proportions. A full quantitative analysis of this type can be a lengthy and expensive undertaking and we generally recommend that we start with a simple qualitative analysis in order to establish the nature of the solvents, resins and pigments present. There are a number of reasons that clients require full quantitative analysis. In some cases they are trying to match a product that they sourced several years ago but now can no longer obtain. Another common reason is that they wish to match an historic paint which is no longer made. The re-painting of cherished aircraft, boats and cars and the need to match original paint on listed buildings are all examples of situations where detailed information regarding composition is requested. We always check if a full analysis is really required or whether a modern paint of the same colour would suffice. In some cases it is more appropriate for the client to use our colour matching service.
Clients, who are not paint manufacturers but intend to use our results to have a paint custom-made, are always advised to liaise with their prospective paint manufacturer before commissioning any analysis. This ensures that we provide the amount of detail required by the manufacturer.