Paint Removers are solvent mixtures used to remove paint and clean the underlying surface. Paint removers are available in gel or liquid forms. The chemicals in the paint remover penetrate the paint film causing the paint molecules to swell up. The swelling of paint particles creates an internal strain and the weakening of the layer's adhesion to the surface underneath. This leads the paint layer to separate from the substrate.
Formulation of Paint Removers:
Paint removers use formulas having dichloromethane as an active ingredient. Formulations of orange oil, terpene solvents, N-methylpyrrolidone, esters, aromatic hydrocarbons, dimethylformamide and nitro methane are commonly used. The formula of the remover differs according to the type of paint and the properties of the underlying surface. Most of these removers are toxic. A less toxic alternative solvent is dimethyl sulfoxide.
Alternatives to Paint Removers:
Hot air guns are an effective alternative to paint removers. Hot air guns or heat guns produce a steady stream of hot air. Hot air guns are similar in design to a hair dryer, though they go up to much higher temperatures. Hot air guns are used in stripping paint, applying heat shrink tubing, drying damp wood, bending and welding plastic, softening adhesives and thawing frozen pipes. Heat guns are also available with a rest or stand that frees the operator's hands. The guns are equipped with special nozzles that can concentrate the heat on a particular area without heating the surroundings or background. Hot air guns are also used in physics and chemical laboratories. They are also used by engineers.
Any chemical formulas or heating devices used to strip paint or remove it should be handled with care. Chemical paint removers are fast acting but may be toxic to humans. Heat guns can cause severe burns if not handled properly. It is advisable to follow the manufacturers' advice in minute details.