Since the 1960s, aircraft exteriors have been coated with single stage polyurethane topcoats because of their durability and performance. The main drawback of a single stage coating is micro-erosion (from wind, rain, dust, exhaust particles) that exposes the top layers of pigment, leading to loss of gloss and color-fastness. For more than 25 years, AkzoNobel, a global leader in aerospace coatings, has recognized the benefit of using clear coat to protect the finish and a few airlines, like British Midlands, used clear coat to provide that permanent “wet look”. But in those days, the base layers were the same as single stage topcoats, so the extra durability came with a process and weight penalty. In the the mid-2000s, the Chemists at AkzoNobel developed new base coats that provided full color development and opacity at thinner layers, thus eliminating any weight increase.
In addition to better hiding, the base coats were formulated to dry much faster than single stage topcoats (2 hours versus 8-12 hours), enabling applicators to mask and apply subsequent colors in less time. This eliminated any process time penalty, and in some cases allowed for a cycle time improvement. This can be especially valuable for more complex and intricate livery designs.
The clear coat has also evolved over the past 25 years. Today’s products provide excellent flexibility and durability and exceed most VOC regulations globally. Together, the specially designed base coat plus clear coat provides a finish that significantly outlasts single stage paint systems.
AkzoNobel sells base coat clear coat systems under 3 brands:
- Aerodur 3001/3002: The only system approved by Boeing and SAE AMS 3095
- Aerobase: Approved by Airbus and SAE AMS 3095
- Alumigrip 4400/4450: For use on Business aviation aircraft
These base coat and clear coat systems deliver a stunning combination of color (solid, metallic and pearl finishes), durability, longevity and performance that cannot be achieved with a single stage topcoat. AkzoNobel is delighted to supply these and other coatings to support IAC in their outstanding work, creating safe and eye-catching aircraft liveries worldwide.