Theoretical calculations and experimental studies were carried out on polyurethane (PU)–TiO2 composite coatings on bright and matte aluminium surfaces with an aim to understand and tailor the light scattering from particles incorporated into an anodised layer for designing the optical appearance of anodised surfaces. PU matrix was selected for its matching refractive-index (n = 1.7) with anodic alumina layer. Three different TiO2 particle size distributions were dispersed in PU and spin coated onto bright high-gloss and matte caustic-etched aluminium substrates. The reflectance spectra of coated surfaces in the visible region were analysed using an integrating sphere-spectrophotometer. Data showed that the coated surfaces have a high diffuse reflectance due to the multiple scattering from TiO2 particles and the coating–substrate interface. The diffuse reflectance spectra of the coated surfaces varied weakly with TiO2 particle concentration and reached a steady state value at 1 wt% but were dependent on the substrate type used. Using Kubelka–Munk two-stream model, the scattering and absorption coefficient of TiO2 in PU was predicted. The studies presented in this paper provide insight into generating bright white-anodised aluminium surfaces based on aluminium–TiO2 composites.
Journal of Materials Science, 2015, Vol 50, Issue 13, p. 4565-4575