HomeGarageFIVA Master Class: Paint at the molecular level

FIVA Master Class: Paint at the molecular level


Why do car manufacturers bake a car after it’s painted? What is hardener, and what else does car paint contain? How is paint given its color?

Tthe Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens hopes to answer these questions and many more in the second part of its three-part technical Master Class on automotive paintwork.

Here is the link to the FIVA Master Class Part 2, which considers the raw materials – the individual components that give automotive paint its desired properties. It describes what happens at a molecular level as paint dries and hardens, and how the number of connections between the individual strands – or polymer chains – affects the properties of the paint.


The feature explains in simple terms how, as the degree of cross-linking increases, the paint changes from a soluble “thermoplast,” to a flexible “elastomer,” to an increasingly hard “duroplast.”

It then becomes clear why car manufacturers bake a car during the painting process. The effect of high temperatures (or UV light) during the application are explained – along with the effect of a hardener… and what gives paint its color.

The final part of the class will cover special effects (metallic, pearlescent, etc.), the technology behind paint application, and the need for constant innovation.


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