What is powder coating?

You’ve heard the term before, but do you really know what powder coating is all about?

It’s not simply an airgun spraying a powdery substance that magically turns into a bonded surface on your wheels. There’s a whole lot of science going on, which means we need to turn to our favorite engineer explainer, Jason, for a better understanding.

There are important grounds to be made. Electrical charge states to consider. Near-liquid state powders to be maintained. It’s actually surprisingly complicated.

The powder itself is kept in a hopper. Beneath this hopper is a plate that keeps air flowing up through the powder and keeping it in that liquid-like state. It’s called a self-fluidizing hopper, and it’s crucial to keeping the powder flowing correctly.

Spitting out all of that powder is the power-coating gun itself, and there’s a lot of voltage at work here. An electrode tip on the gun can see 80,000 volts pumped through it, which ionizes the surrounding air. A corona ring surrounds the actual electrode tip and works to capture any powder particles that have been overcharged. If these passed through they would lead to an uneven finish on the item being sprayed.

Jason is having a set of wheels powder coated with a satin finish. These are for his project Honda S2000, which he’s documenting on his channel. At the end of the video, you can see the excellent work done by the Phoenix Rim Repair Shop that handled the powder coating.

It’s a great explaination on a process that you may have believed was rather simple. In fact, there’s a tremendous amount of science at work and Jason, as always, does a great job of explaining it all.

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