Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

October, 2004

Measuring Paint Viscosity

Q. I would like to know how to measure viscosity for paints after calculating drain time?

You didn't tell me what type of viscometer you are using, but I presume that you are using either a Zahn cup or a Ford 4 cup, or something similar. If you are using a conventional standardized cup-type viscometer, viscosity conversion tables are available that allow you to compare viscosity in one set of units to poise or centipoise (cp). I searched the Internet for a conversion table but couldn't find one. However, Metal Finishing Magazine, an Elsevier publication, has published a conversion table in their Organic Guidebook & Directory. You can purchase a copy of the Guidebook by writing to It is also possible that you can request a conversion table from Byk-Gardner and Paul Gardner companies, both of which sell viscosity measuring instruments.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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