Paint and Lacquer testing, corrosion testing and weathering tests

Testing laboratory for paints, coatings and corrosion

© Fraunhofer IFAM
UV weathering.

In the development of paints and coatings as well as the accompanying quality management, standardized suitability tests of the paint are necessary in order to obtain the most accurate characterization of the coating system. Fraunhofer IFAM offers a wide range of test methods to determine and verify adhesion, elasticity, hardness, chemical resistance, and weather resistance. Paint testing is carried out both on liquid paints and on cured coatings. Depending on the application, these are subjected to varying loads – under laboratory conditions or in outdoor weathering. For this purpose, the researchers use standardized test procedures, but also develop customized test and testing methods if required.


Characterization of liquid coating materials

The properties of the raw coating determine the quality of the material. In addition, characteristic values such as surface tension, viscosity or density provide information on the processability of the coating material. Standardized drying tests, which determine, among other things, the through-drying state, through-drying time or stackability of the painted surfaces, complete the picture of the properties that have an effect on the painting result.

In addition to many standardized test methods, our coating technology experts have at their disposal a broad portfolio of analytical methods that enable them to make precise statements about the type and composition, reactivity and crosslinking of the coating material, among other things. With a view to the development of functional coatings, properties such as conductivity or electrical resistance can also be determined.


Testing of coatings

Characterization of the cured coating is used to test the suitability of the material used. Test methods are used for quality control as well as for new developments and product qualifications. Frequently tested properties are:

  • Adhesion strength
  • Coating thickness
  • Hardness and elasticity
  • Abrasion, scratch and scuff resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Stone ship resistance
  • Permeability
  • Testing and simulation of the long-term performance of coatings (e.g. UV Test and Xenon)
  • Pressure water-jetting

Various methods and other methods are available for investigation at Fraunhofer IFAM. Here follows a selection.

  • Coating thickness measurements (destructive, non-destructive, and ultrasound)
  • Mechanical-technological test methods (mandrel bending test, cross-cut test, (multi-)impact test)
  • Optical methods (color measurements, gloss value and gloss haze determination)
  • Corrosion tests
  • Sealant tests

Laboratory accreditation in accordance with DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 exists for the test methods listed in document annex D-PL-11140-02-00.

All test methods and procedures can also be carried out individually according to customer requirements. A detailed overview of the entire portfolio is summarized in the data sheet Test Methods for Testing Coatings.



Nadcap: Cross-cut test, salt spray test and coating thickness measurement

In order to meet the special boundary conditions and specifications in the aviation industry, the institute has obtained the Nadcap accreditation "Chemical Processing" (CP). This applies to the following test methods:


Test method Standard
Salt spray test or salt spray mist test (corrosion test)


Cross cut test (coating test) – adhesion tape testing


Coating thickness measurement of coating materials



This means that Fraunhofer IFAM, as an independent laboratory, is now in a position to perform these tests in the field of aviation in accordance with Nadcap and to certify this. Customers of Fraunhofer IFAM can use the results obtained directly for the development of flying materials and coatings. Read more about Nadcap accreditation here.


Paint testing for other industries and application fields

We can offer you tests in the following sectors:

  • according to automotive specifications (PV,TL, DBL, etc.)
  • aircraft specifications (AITM, AIMS, etc.)
  • for coatings of wind power plants (tower, rotor blade)
  • of corrosion coatings according to DIN EN ISO 12944-6 and DIN EN ISO 12944-9 (offshore tests) as well as TL/TP guideline and VGB/BAW standard
  • powder coatings according to GSB and Qualicoat guidelines
  • of paint materials according to DBS 918300

In addition to the normal range of services, our scientists also develop new and exclusive special test methods.

© Fraunhofer IFAM
Storage samples on the Brocken during the winter months.
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Storage samples on the Brocken during the winter months. Samples were cleared of snow and ice.

Stress tests and weathering

Coatings are exposed to a variety of environmental influences, such as temperature, humidity, precipitation and irradiation. They cause coatings to age and can have a negative impact on visual properties – color and gloss – as well as protective functions.

To evaluate the resistance of coatings, different aging tests are used depending on the specific issue. These are aimed at the following parameters:

  • Weather resistance
  • Artificial weathering methods
  • Corrosion protection
  • Chemical resistance

To this purpose, special test chambers are available at Fraunhofer IFAM. In addition, there is the possibility of outdoor weathering in Bremen, on Helgoland, Sylt, Alte Weser and on the Brocken in the Harz mountains at an altitude of 1141 meters.


Our test laboratories: certified

There are many different sets of regulations for the quality assessment of coatings. At Fraunhofer IFAM, we test, analyze, and evaluate on the basis of all significant standards and specifications. Companies, authorities, or enterprises specify the requirements for certain surface properties, which are used to test whether a coating material or coating has the required properties according to German standards, international regulations, or special factory specifications. The quality of our testing work is always central: The testing laboratories for corrosion testing and paint technology at the Bremen site have been certified to DIN EN ISO 9001 since 1995. Read more about our quality management here. The scope of the laboratory accreditation according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025, which has existed since 1996, is also described there.

Mathias Widrat works at Fraunhofer IFAM in the department for “Paint and Lacquer Technology” and advises customers on paint/lacquer technology tests (mechanical, physical, and optical methods) as well as classical corrosion tests. Non-accredited paint and corrosion tests and customized special tests are also part of his field of work.