Dry to Handle Time

Definition - What does Dry to Handle Time mean?

Dry to handle time is the length of time from coating application until it hardens such that the coated surface or film does not show any unwanted marks, detachment, loosening, wrinkling or other forms of distortion when subjected to tests as specified in ASTM 1640, ISO 9117-3 or other industry-approved test methods.

The dry to handle time is usually indicated on the paint label or product data sheet as a range of the minimum and maximum time. Many factors like the coating thickness, temperature, ventilation, relative humidity and other environmental conditions affect drying time.

Dry to handle time is also known as “dry-through time” in the ASTM D-1640 test method procedure.

Corrosionpedia explains Dry to Handle Time

The dry to handle time is between dry to touch time and dry to recoat time. The coating material or applied film is not yet completely cured. ASTM 1640 specifies eight paint-drying stages that are generally recognized by many but not all industry authorities for the following reasons:

  • Subjective test methods. For example, “moderate thumb pressure” or “maximum pressure of the arm” varies with each person performing the test.
  • Varying environmental conditions where the coating is applied can significantly affect the drying time.

Even the estimated time for each coating drying stage is useful to know for work planning purposes and to have a clearer idea of the total coating job completion time.

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