Posted on February 24, 2023

Thermoset Vs. Thermoplastic Powder Coating: What’s the Difference?

edco fabricator using yellow powder coating

Photo Credit: Kelly Heck Photography

Thermoplastic or Thermosetting? How do they differ, and how can you decide which is best for your project? Let’s compare the two so you can make an informed decision.

What is a thermoset powder coating?

It should be noted that these have a chemical reaction in the process of baking. That process then creates a polymer which is able to resist any breaking down of the coating itself. Further, a thermoset coating won’t have a second melt after its cooling when heat is applied again.

A thermoset coating has a resin made of epoxy that can provide its user with advantages in terms of design and production. It also has the benefit of a lower cost. These thermoset powders are often applied to coil, wires, or screens produced from mesh materials.

Next, we have to look at the other readily available option and ask…

What is a thermoplastic coating?

This is generally used in mechanical parts and other items which need to be remolded. This coating provides the combination of strength and flexibility. It can be perfectly suited for those items which do need both plasticity and also need to be long-lasting. It’s perfectly suited for items that require plasticity and longevity. You can re-melt these items, as there is no chemical change that occurs during the process.

The Pros & Cons

Thermoset Coating—The Pros:

  • Great for the manufacturing of electronics.
  • Gives a higher quality level of heat and resistance to chemicals. This in turn helps to maintain an item’s structure. 

Thermoset Coating—The Cons:

  • Application of thermoset is more difficult than thermoplastic.
  • This process is permanent, making it impossible for the finish to be reshaped again. Items that have this kind of a coating aren’t able to be recycled.

Thermoplastic Coating—The Pros

  • Creates a lower level of friction and the coating itself is less likely to wear off and break down.
  • It is possible to remold or reshape items with this kind of finish.
  • This coating can be easily recycled.

Thermoplastic Coating—The Cons

  • More expensive than a thermoset.
  • If an item with this coating becomes too hot, the coating may actually melt.

How to Decide

In the end, your choice will likely boil down to your project needs. Both thermoplastic and thermoset come with advantages and disadvantages, but as long as you account and prepare for them, you’ll be happy with the end result. Assess your project, choose the best option, and let our experts do the rest!