I have a lot of enamel and it’s hard to tell how well the enamel is protected so there are quite a few cases where the primer looks worn when it is wet but it still looks clean when you touch it up. I have a lot of enamel and when I first started using Rustoleum enamel primer in the 70’s, I did not realize the value of not just primer but the application of other products that you need to consider. So many of the products and methods of enamel priming do a great job but I do not understand how it is done in the 70’s. If you are like me and you have seen a lot of rustoleum that has been in the shop, I think primer or enamel or both and not just one or the other. What’s the difference between them? What is “good” if it doesn’t cure properly or is prone to oxidation?
Good enamel has been tested at least once, if not many times for effectiveness. The key word is the “reactive” action: when there is a reaction between the chemicals in the enamel primer (e.g., hydrogen peroxide and aluminum hydroxide) and the surface of the paper, it produces “saturation.” The color you see on the paper is what a primer that has been reactive will show, the color that will show is the result of a “saturation.”
This does not mean that the enamel (and also the primer) has “saturated” or “oxidized.” To quote from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) on “Saturation Mechanisms in Enamel Primers, Enamel Decorators, and Paper Products”:
The color of an enamel surface depends on the interaction between the enamel substance and the chemical reactants. The reactions often lead to “saturation.” “Saturation” is a characteristic of any liquid, solid, or gas. It arises when the two reactants become separated with the assistance of an exchangeable element, such as a gas. As water becomes separated from the liquid, the water is not heated or cooled at the same rate; this is called “saturation.”
You are absolutely correct. Enamel is a reactive liquid and it is the chemical changes in a solid/gas form that lead to the color variation that we see.
If you are interested in buying premixed enamel primers, you can find most of them at most
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