Leafing aluminum pigments form one of the two major categories of aluminum pigments. The ability of an aluminum pigment to leaf in a liquid coating is a function of the fatty acid lubricant used during the milling process. Generally a fatty acid such as stearic is employed, which coats the metal surface providing both hydrophobic and oleophobic characteristics. These non-wetting characteristics are responsible for the leafing properties of the pigment.
When properly formulated and applied, a coating containing leafing pigments provides a solid bright silver finish. The flakes orient at or near the film surface parallel to each other and to the coating substrate. This orientation creates a continuous metallic flake barrier and a surface that will reflect light in a highly specular manner. This characteristic is also useful in protecting the underlying coating film from degradation due to UV light and environmental exposure.
Leafing type products are characterized by fine particle size, high hiding power and brightness. Designed for reflective coatings, aerosol cans coatings and gravure inks.