Architects memo no. 46: August 1986
the ultimatt?

It has been said that the only thing that we can be absolutely certain of in this ever-changing world is that it will continue to change. This is especially true within the discipline of Material technology of which the paint industry is part.

In 1983, in Architects Memo No.27 we wrote with reference to wall paints – '… An absolutely matt, suede-like surface without side-sheen was, and still is, the most desirable finish. This type of surface must, by necessity of its light diffusing characteristics, have a very rough broken surface. Such surface roughness, which is only visible under a microscope, nevertheless tends to harbour dirt and stains more than a smooth surface. Whilst careful washing can generally remove such stains, in practise more vigorous cleaning is needed, with the danger of polishing or burnishing parts of the rougher surface and leaving smoother, glossier areas…'

Since this memo was written, Resene Paints’ many years of research has come to fruition. Three effects were identified as being major contributors to the burnishing phenomenon. These are:

  1. The physical breaking off or breaking out of the flatting extender.
  2. The twisting and turning of the flatting extender within the film, and
  3. The ‘sinking’ of the flatting extender within the film due to effect of the pressure and frictional heat, generated by rubbing, on the thermoplastic film.

In practise a combination of these effects probably occurs. Resene’s approach to solving these inherent problems was firstly to design a flatting extender which was resilient and resistant to fracture. Secondly the surface of the flatting extended was modified to vastly increase the bond between it and the film. This ‘locks’ the extender in place and reduces the twisting and turning effect. Finally the film former was designed with greatly reduced thermoplasticity with consequent resistance to softening with heat.

All of these features have now been incorporated into Resene’s latest wallcovering, Zylone 20. This dead-matt surface is completely without side-sheen and totally diffuses all light incident upon it. The effect blurs harsh edges and planes and can create a pleasant sensation of surfaces without dimension.

It must be realised that Zylone 20, like other matt surfaces, will mark; the innovation is that here is a truly matt paint from which marks can be removed without burnishing. Whilst a claim that Zylone 20 is the ultimate matt paint may be poetic licence, Resene can truly claim that it is a significant step towards the ultimate goal.

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