Do you have a piece of equipment that needs to be repainted or refinished? Are you considering using powder coating? That could be a wise decision. Powder coating is a dry form of painting that doesn't have solvent. It's applied with an air compressor directly onto the piece that's being finished. That means it creates little mess or environmental waste. It's also a highly durable form of refinishing that makes it ideal for items that are exposed to the outdoors or that are heavily used. There are two types of dry coatings available: thermosets and thermoplastics. Here's how you can tell which is best for your project.
The biggest difference between the two types of coatings is that thermosets can't be melted off the item that's being refinished. That means that the coating is essentially permanent. That could either be a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective. If you think that you may want to change the appearance of the item in the future, then a thermoset isn't a great choice.
However, there are some very good reasons for using thermosets. They're more durable than thermoplastics. Since they can't melt, they can withstand high levels of heat. That makes them ideal for things like motorcycle parts, mechanical equipment, and hot appliances like ovens.
One other downside to thermosets is that once an item is finished, it usually can't be recycled. Many recycling centers strip items of paint before the item goes through the recycling process. If the item is finished with a thermoset coating, it can't be stripped, so it likely won't be accepted by the center.
Thermoplastics don't have the durability or heat-resistance of thermosets. However, a thermoplastic can be stripped, which gives you the flexibility to change the item's appearance in the future. Since they can be stripped, thermoplastic-coated items can also be recycled.
While thermoplastics may give you more aesthetic flexibility in the future, there are some downsides to using them. First, thermoplastics are generally more expensive than thermosets. Also, thermoplastics may not offer the same range of colors and styles that you find in thermosets. In many cases, you can find a thermoset that mimics the appearance of any kind of traditional paint. That's not often the case with thermoplastics.
Thermoplastics are best used for strictly decorative items that don't have to endure high levels of heat or activity. Things like metal patio furniture or a wrought-iron piece of furniture are good items for a thermoplastic covering. The exhaust pipe on your motorcycle would be better suited for a thermoset.
For more information on which is best for your project, talk to a dry coating specialist. They can give you tips and can possibly even do the job for you.