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Calcium is very effective when used in conjunction with cobalt and zirconium. It promotes drying under adverse weather conditions such as low temperature and high humidity. Loss-of-dry problems during long storage times of paints can be reduced using calcium as an auxiliary drier. Calcium drier helps to improve hardness and gloss as well as to reduce skin-formation and silking. Moreover, calcium drier is useful as pigment wetting and dispersing agent.


Cobalt is the most important and most widely used drier metal of all. It is primarily an oxidation catalyst and as such acts as a surface drier.

When used alone, cobalt may have a tendency to cause surface wrinkling and poor through drying. In order to provide uniform drying cobalt is used in combination with other metals like manganese, zirconium, lead, calcium and combination driers based on these metals.

Cobalt has a strong red-violet color, which may affect the color of the liquid paint if used at higher concentrations. However, the color of the dried paint layer is hardly affected.


Manganese is an active drier as well, though less effective than cobalt. As an accelerator of polymerization in baking finishes manganese is more effective than cobalt. Though it is not preferred for use in white paints as it affects the color. While manganese is seldom used alone; cobalt as the primary drier with manganese is a useful modifier.


Lead dryers were the most commonly used in the past, but now have been replaced in most paints by less toxic alternatives.


Zirconium driers are the most widely accepted replacements for lead. Zirconium improves through drying mainly by the formation of coordination bonds with hydroxyl- and carboxylic groups, available from the resin or formed during the drying process. Apart from coordination, it is assumed that zirconium also forms complexes with cobalt, which influences the catalytic effect of the primary drier.

Best properties have been obtained if used in combination with cobalt and calcium. The results attained with this combination are very close as with cobalt / lead / calcium-combinations. In comparison with other auxiliary driers, zirconium shows the best color, lowest yellowing tendency and best durability.


When air-drying paints and coatings come in contact with atmospheric oxygen, they tend to form surface skin. Anti-skinning agents are therefore added as coating additives to induce uniform drying, prevent skin formation and shrinkage. Chemically, these agents are antioxidants which evaporate along with the solvents in the drying process