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Film thickness measurement plays an essential part in the use and testing of paints and coating materials. The film thickness is a decisive factor in determining appearance, protective qualities and durability. Film thickness in coatings can have a big impact on cost and quality. Measurement of film thickness should be a routine event for all coaters.

A film, which is too thin, will afford inadequate protection and reduced hiding power. For this reason, technical specifications stipulate minimum film thickness and regular controls must be carried out to ensure that these values are consistent.

On the other hand, an excessively thick film is the result of using too much coating material, causing costs to increase accordingly. Furthermore, thicker coatings do not always mean an improvement in properties- for example; they have an adverse affect on drying time.

The physical and mechanical properties of a coating are directly dependent on the film thickness. If meaningful testing is to be conducted, the film thickness must therefore be uniform.


The correct gauge to use depends on the thickness range of the coating, the shape and type of substrate, the cost of the gauge, and how critical it is to get an accurate measurement.



Dry Film Thickness is the thickness of an applied coating when dry; expressed in mils.

For the protection of any surface, an adequate dry film thickness of paint must be applied. If more than the recommended film thickness is applied, the life of the protective coating will normally be extended. Conversely, if less than recommended thickness is applied, the durability and performance of the system will be suspect.


The actual dry film thickness recommended for a particular surface will depend upon the paint system and the surface to be coated. Factors that control the coverage of the paint are wastage, the porosity and roughness of the surface. The latter factor, the type of surface, must always be taken into account when calculating the volume of paint to cover a given area.

The calculation of the theoretical coverage or spreading rate of paint is determined from the volume solids. The volume solid is defined as the percentage of solids, expressed in volume, in paint.

Dry film thickness is measured using mechanical or electronic dry film thickness gauges to ensure adequate coverage according to specifications. It may be necessary to test coating adhesion.

Dry film thickness gauge is an instrument for measuring the dry film thickness of a coating. Mechanical film thickness gauges provide a number of advantages:

·           Handy, portable, and simple to operate even by unskilled personnel, sturdy construction, direct reading.

·            Measurements can be carried out on any surface. Since the system functions completely mechanically, substrates of glass, wood, metal or plastic are permissible.

·           In comparison to other systems, mechanical film thickness gauges are favorably priced.

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