Definition - What does Enamel mean?

Enamel refers to a glassy, vitreous and usually opaque substance that is used in protective or decorative coating on metal, glass or ceramic ware. Enamel could be used in varnishes, paints and coatings. After drying, it produces a hard and glossy finish—an enamel-like surface that has a bright luster.

Enamel protects materials from corrosion. Coatings made from enamel have a great potential to protect steel from corrosion.

Corrosionpedia explains Enamel

Enamel is an opaque and hard substance used to protect from corrosion and increase the aesthetic appearance of materials. For example, enamelled steel surfaces produce high corrosion protection.

Enamels can be found in a variety of colors and a number of sheens. Special enamels are made for special purposes like for using painting appliances.

Characteristics of enamel paints:

  • Hard, washable
  • Produce glossy finish
  • Heat-resistant
  • Quicker drying times

Enamel paint should not be confused with "painted enamel" that is used for decorative purposes. In painted enamel, vitreous enamel is applied with brushes and fired in a kiln, mainly on porcelain objects.

Industry porcelain enamel is another variant of enamel generally used in the production of home appliances, kitchenware, bathroom fittings, water heaters and laboratory equipment. Enamel coatings are also used for the internal protection of storage tanks. Enamel contains small pores, which may cause the formation of pitting corrosion. The interface of steel and enamel reacts and causes hydrogen recombination that leads to the creation of fish scaling and spalling.

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