This article covers different areas of application and the suitability of the different wetting agents in those areas. In addition, we consider the influence of the wetting additives' chemical composition on their performance in final application and give some guidance for the best choice of substrate-wetting additives.
How is Substrate Wetting Defined?
Substrate wetting is defined as the replacement of adherent air at the substrate surface by a liquid coating or ink material. This process is essential for successful coating application and printing.
Wetting is especially difficult on low-energy surfaces, i.e., substrates with low surface energy or substrates contaminated by dirty particles or liquid contaminants such as grease. In such cases, wetting defects can occur, such as crazing or crawling, or even poor adhesion of paint film.
Even when the surface energy of the substrate is relatively high, wetting may become a critical factor if highly dynamic application processes are involved. On fast-running printing presses or roller-coater application, for example, wetting must be very fast to obtain good results.