What do we mean by a substrate?

What do we mean by a substrate?

August 12th, 2020

In this Stahl Explains, Annelies Janssen-Van Drunen explains what we mean when we talk about substrates:   

Substrate is a commonly used word but it can mean many different things. In biology, a substrate can be the surface on which an organism (eg: plant, fungus, or animal) lives, or the substance on which an enzyme can act. In geology, a substrate is a rock or sediment surface where chemical and biological processes occur.

Though the definition can vary, the common feature of all definitions is that a substrate serves as a base for something to grow, or to occur, on the surface. In chemistry, this can mean a surface on which other chemical reactions can occur. For the coatings industry, a substrate usually refers to the material on which paints and coatings are applied, for example metal, wood, plastic, fabric, rubber, paper or leather.

In a previous Stahl explains we touched on why different types of coatings are used to protect surfaces from external attack or degradation. The type of substrate is a critical and determining factor in the selection of a coating because the chemistry of the substrate always has an impact on the properties of the applied coating. The right combination of substrate and coating chemistry is therefore essential to achieve the required appearance and performance of any coated material.

At Stahl, our focus is on creating chemistry for materials used in fashion, automotive and home furnishing products so that they look and feel good, while optimizing their long-term performance and reducing environmental impact at the same time. Whether it is leather, fabric, metal, rubber or wood, Stahl’s technology and expertize ensures that the right chemistry is applied to these different substrates in order to produce optimal results.

Read our other Stahl Explains:
'What is a chemical substance?'
'What is the difference between polymers and plastics?'

'What is biotechnology?'
'What is biotechnology?' Part II

'Are bio-based materials always biodegradable?'
'Are biodegration and composting the same?'

'What is a coating or paint? Are they the same?'
'Why are there so many types of coatings?'
'What would happen if there were no coatings?'
'Is there such thing as a natural coating?'
'How do we design our coatings?'


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Please get in touch with your relevant contact within Stahl:

What do we mean by a substrate?
Annelies Janssen - van Drunen
Global Campus Manager