Plastics are coated for three main reasons: aesthetics, touch/feel and wear
resistance. When using a surface modifier for plastics applications, the particle
size distribution is a key property that must be taken into account during the formulation
process. For example, a large particle size may be necessary, so that the dispersed
wax protrudes from the film and causes a matting or tactile effect. In other cases,
small particles are desirable to maintain high gloss.
Aesthetically speaking, surface modifiers are effectively used in plastics coatings
to attain desired optical effects such as color, gloss or matting. A wide range
of possibilities is available in this area.
Some plastic coating applications require very special tactile properties. In car
interiors for example, coatings using surface modifiers are used to produce a soft
or leather-like feel when applied on plastic substrates such as dash boards, instrument
panels and door handles. Demand for specific tactile properties is also becoming
more common on the plastic components of hand-held electronic devices, where a soft-like
feel is desirable.
Surface modifiers are also used in the recipe for lacquer coatings applied to plastic
surfaces that require scratch & mar resistance, and even resistance to common
products such as suntan oils, coffee and food stains.