20 Aug 2019

Going Beyond the Standards

Testing to industrial standards for coatings is important to ensure baseline performance, purity and safety.  Testing standards are created through broad industrial partnerships and apply to the chemistries and materials used at the time.  Testing to standards alone, however, can present limitations, such as incompatible chemistry, method conditions that do not reflect end-use or application, challenges with sample size or shape, irrelevant conditions (heat, environment, time, etc.) and desired limits or sensitivity that may be lower than established in the standard. 

Non-standard methods can be useful in several scenarios, including:

  • Tailored evaluation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Assessing surface contamination
  • Studying adhesive failures
  • Evaluating chemical decomposition
  • Mechanical analysis
  • Trace metals analysis
  • Rapid product development cycle feedback.

To successfully complete non-standard chemical/mechanical analyses, it is important to understand chemistry, compatibility with test methods and flexibility to tailor a method. Consider the following: data end use; uncertainty/detection limits needed; application specific conditions; size/shape of samples; chemistry; and applicable standards.

Standards and requirements are useful for coatings; however, they may not always ensure the right data you need to accomplish the task at hand.  In short, it is important that you don't let the standards keep you from getting it right. Consider other analysis approaches to ensure you are asking the right questions and getting the right answers and understanding the limitations of the standard approach.  Adhere to the required standard but remember to consider limitations as you develop a testing plan that will provide you with everything you need for not only a compliant coating, but a successful one. 

For more insights on non-standard analytical assessment for coatings, including several case studies, download our webinar recording.  And stay tuned for the next entry of our series on coatings analysis.


Paula McDaniel,
Director of Business Development


Paula McDaniel has 30 years of experience in the world of analytical science across multiple industries, including plastics, health and beauty products, specialty chemicals and more. She is currently responsible for business development at Intertek's chemical and pharmaceutical lab in Allentown, Pennsylvania, building off functional experience in analytical science, global organization development, business development and polyurethane chemistry.