White Spirits Market: Booming Paints & Coatings Industry facilitates Growth

White Spirits Market_Inkwood Research

White spirit is a colorless, clear, and flammable liquid. It is a mixture of chemicals known as petroleum hydrocarbons. These include aromatic hydrocarbons, cycloparaffins, and paraffin. As per Inkwood Research, the global white spirits market is expected to record a CAGR of 5.75% during the forecast period, 2023-2032.

White spirits are primarily used as a solvent in the paint industry. A solvent is used to dissolve or disperse various components used in the formulation of paints & coatings.

This blog primarily focuses on the role of solvents in paints & coatings.

Role of Solvents in Paints & Coatings

Conventionally, a solvent should have the following properties:

  • Volatility
  • Neutral Reaction
  • Slight/Pleasant Smell
  • Long-term Resistance to Chemicals
  • Clear & Colorless
  • Consistent Physical Properties as per Specifications
  • Cost-Effective
  • Biologically Degradable
  • Low Toxicity

Adjusting the viscosity and curing properties of the paint are a solvent’s central function. It is volatile and does not integrate with the paint film. Also, it regulates application and flow properties and influences the stability of the pain while in the liquid state. In addition, it primarily functions as a carrier for non-volatile components. This is because thinner oil is needed to spread heavier oils. For instance, an oil-based interior house paint.

Further, solvent-borne paints, also termed oil-based paints, entail different combinations of solvents as diluents. A diluent is an agent that dilutes a substance to obtain a less concentrated solution. These solvents include white spirits, ketones, alcohols, aromatics, and aliphatics.

In addition, solvent-borne paints include organic solvents such as glycol ethers, esters, and petroleum distillate. Also, at times, low-molecular and volatile synthetic resins serve as diluents. Resins are synthetic or organic compounds that comprise viscous or non-crystalline liquid substances. Such solvents are used when grease resistance or water resistance is needed.

Using additives reduces the surface tension of paints, further improving the appearance of the coating film. They also help avoid defects on the surface.

Additionally, the surface tension of the solvent blends in paints influences the following properties:

  • Sprayability
  • Wetting of the undercoating or substrate
  • Wetting of pigments and their dispersion quality

Low surface tension solvents can enhance such properties and improve the dispersibility of components or additivities difficult to disperse or dissolve, such as epoxies. For instance, solvents like aliphatic hydrocarbons, glycol ethers, and alcohols migrate to a coating’s surface. Thus, it lowers the surface tension and makes the surface more homogeneous. In addition, this improves leveling and minimizes the tendency to form surface defects like craters. Though this phenomenon occurs in waterborne coatings, it can also occur in solvent-borne coatings.

Moreover, the paint’s viscosity depends on the viscosity or dispersion of the resin-solvent solution and the interaction between the solvent, resin, and other components. Besides, the solvent electrical resistance is an important factor when spraying paints electrostatically. If the paint has too low a resistance, the spray equipment may short out due to overcharging. Overcharging can induce ‘wrap back’ in paints to the gun and the person spraying. Whereas if the paint has too high a resistance, the transfer efficiency will be low or even lower than traditional air sprays. (Source: American Coatings Association)

Our analysis of the global white spirits market product type includes type 0 (distillation fraction with no further treatment), type 1 (hydrodesulfurization), type 2 (solvent extraction), and type 3 (hydrogenation).

Different Solvent Types used in Paints & Coatings

Solvents are one of the three components in paints. They are petroleum-based chemicals that dissolve the binding agent and pigment for application. These include oxygenated solvents, aromatic hydrocarbon solvents, and aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents.

  • Oxygenated Solvents

Oxygenated solvents are majorly used as active solvents for synthetic resins and have oxygen functionality. They reduce the viscosity of lacquers, varnishes, and paints and dissolve films and resins. The four common oxygenated solvents are alcohols, glycol ethers, esters, and ketones.

  • Aromatic Hydrocarbon Solvents

Aromatic hydrocarbon solvents have a benzene ring structure and high solvency rates than aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents. They emit strong odors and are produced in the petroleum refining industry through the distillation of petroleum stock and other chemical conversion processes like alkylation and catalytic hydrogenation. Common aromatic hydrocarbon solvents used in paints & coatings are high-flash aromatic naphthas, mixed xylene (BTEX), ethylbenzene, toluene, and benzene.

  • Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Solvents

Aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents are produced through crude oil distillation and then treated to enhance the odor and color. They do not have the benzene ring and are used in paints and thinners. Kerosene and gasoline are examples of aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents. Common aliphatic hydrocarbon solvents used in paints & coatings are heptanes, hexanes, and white spirits.

Our assessment of the global white spirits market by grade includes low flash point, regular flash point, and high flash point.

White Spirits Market: Booming Paints & Coatings Industry facilitates Growth

According to our evaluation, the global paints & coatings market is predicted to garner a revenue of $207.72 billion by 2028, projecting a CAGR of 6.22% for the forecast period, 2021-2028. This is primarily attributed to the thriving infrastructure and construction industries and the increasing demand from automotive OEMs.

In essence, paints & coatings, in addition to offering an aesthetic appeal, facilitate a protective barrier to expand the functional use of the substrates and surfaces to which they are applied. For instance, coatings offer essential characteristics to the finished product and protect against degradation and destructive conditions. These include abrasion, corrosion, chemicals & ultraviolet rays, high or low temperatures, microbes, moisture, etc.

Moreover, the paints & coatings industry is a dynamic part of a nation’s economy. It undertakes a central role in manufacturing products that protect everything – from everyday objects to vital infrastructure. As a result, the booming paints & coatings industry is conducive to the global white spirits market growth.

By Akhil Nair


Which are the key players in the global white spirits market?

Cepsa, ExxonMobil Corporation, HCS Group, DHC Solvent Chemie GmbH, etc., are among the key players in the global white spirits market.

What are ketones?

Ketones are a class of highly efficient solvents used for product formulation for inks, adhesives, and coatings. Isophorone, mesityl oxide (MO), methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) are examples of ketones.