We will be offering "Introduction to Paint Formulation" August 13-17 (Fall 2018). This course is intended to give the person a fundamental knowledge of how to approach a starting formulation and troubleshoot it. This course involves both lecture and laboratory work.

For more information see our web site at http://coatings.mst.edu and to register contact us at mstformulation@mst.edu or call 573-341-4419. **These courses are held on the Rolla Campus**


We are offering "Introduction to the Coating Systems" online short course. This course is targeted for automotive and aviation type OEM companies. This self-paced seminar will cover the painting system from the composition of paints to the evaluation of the dry film.  The pigments, resin, solvents and additives will be discussed including their influence on the coatings performance.  Color measurement, surface profile, and other evaluation criteria will be related to composition.  The importance of surface preparation and other manufacturing criteria will show the system complexity and each step's importance.

We are offering "Surface Defects: Elimination from Human and Process Contaminants" online short course. This course addresses many of the issues in prevention and minimization of defects. The course covers the defects caused by the coatings process, as well as human issues, including personal care product causes. Several of the surface defects are discussed – from basic principles and real world automotive and aircraft examples. The highly practical approach of this course will greatly aid the personnel involved in the painting operation to reduce and systematically approach issues.


We have started an employment section for our students and companies. We have a full time job section, an intern / co-op section and a graduating and alumni students section . Please explore our section on employment on our web site. Anyone wanting to have job opening listed, please contact us at (573) 341-4419 or e-mail: mstformulation@mst.edu . You can also write to us at Missouri S&T Coatings Institute, BOM #2, 651 W. 13th St., Rolla, MO 65409-1020. Our web site is http://coatings.mst.edu




Paint Deformulation

Ashish Zore, Graduate Research Assistant, Missouri S&T Coating Institute

Deformulation is chemically reverse engineering a product’s formulation by breaking down to its basic components. This process is mostly performed in order to get the data necessary to reformulate or reproduce the same physical properties of the original formulation or to determine if the paint was improperly manufactured.   

The complexity of the paint formulation increases with the number of different ingredients which makes proper reverse engineering a difficult task. A proper deformulation of a product involves separation of components of the formulation followed by identification using traditional analytical techniques. Some product components resist separating from the matrix and may require special knowledge to perform analysis on them. The complexity in reverse engineering paint is due to large number of ingredients, tendency to resist separation and typically low dosage levels of ingredients as well as the proprietary nature of many of the components.   

Reasons for performing paint deformulation

  • To check if competitor is infringing on your product or trade secret.
  • To prove or disprove marketing claims
  • To discover ingredients from competitors paint that give better performance or lower cost
  • Identifying contaminants
  • To mirror or improve an existing formulation


There are four primary components of a paint formulation: solvents, resin, pigments and additives. Additives are especially difficult to identify due to its tendency to resist separation from matrix and their use in small amounts.


Types of reverse engineering available

  1. Basic reverse engineering – Identifies and quantifies the major ingredients of a coating. Additives are usually not identified.
  2. Full reverse engineering - Identifies and quantifies the major and minor ingredients as well as the additives of a coating.
  3. Custom reverse engineering – this is done to isolate, identify and quantify specific ingredients of the paint based on the needs and budget. 


Techniques used for deformulation

The following table illustrates a typical analysis techniques involved in paint deformulation. Competitors have spent nearly $400,000,000 attempting to breakdown Coca-Cola with only partial success, paint is nearly as complicated!

Analysis techniques involved in paint deformulation. Ref: Chemical analysis and database in paint industry, Rich Simon, Global Analytical Network, July 19th 2016.