Percent Solids

Definition - What does Percent Solids mean?

Percent solids refers to the percentage mass of solid material present in a liquid (or semi-liquid) sample. For paint it can be useful for things such as formula duplication and quality control.

Quality paints have a higher concentration of solids, with the results being:

  • Easier to apply
  • Fewer coats required for the same coverage
  • Less splatter during application
  • Better hiding characteristics
  • Holds color better
  • Resists pealing and flaking
  • Resists mildew
  • Provides a longer service life

Corrosionpedia explains Percent Solids

The percent solids of a coating is the ratio of the volume of its non-volatile components to its total wet volume. The figure is usually expressed as a percentage.

The proportion of solids to liquid determines the thickness of the paint film after it dries. The greater the percentage of solids to liquid, the thicker the paint film is at a given spread rate. The percentage of solids contained in a gallon of paint indicates how much of the volume in the paint forms the protective paint film, and how much disappears as the paint cures. It is a general indicator of paint quality. The higher the percentage of solids in the paint, the less liquid there is. Because the primary purpose of the liquid is to suspend the solids for application, a higher percentage of solids translates into more dry paint on the application. More paint means better and longer performance. Paint with a higher percentage of solids also costs more, as a result of higher material costs.

The solids content can be used to determine concentration. Low concentration can occur from contamination or over-dilution with solvent. High solids can be caused by contamination or solvent evaporation. Low solids content means low concentration, which translates into less corrosion protection.

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