Is Acrylic Paint Flammable?

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We all know that painting can be a wonderful and relaxing experience, especially when done from the comfort of your own home.

Not only does painting provide an outlet for your creativity but it can also be extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health.

However, this does not mean that painting doesn’t come with its disadvantages, as the hobby can be a very messy process and cost you hundreds of dollars when buying new paints, brushes and other materials. 

However, one of the biggest obstacles that many painters face is waiting for the paint to dry, which can take hours depending on the type of paint you have used.

These days, many painters will try to speed up the drying process by placing their work in the oven or even subjecting it to the heat of a butane torch.

But is this something you should do? After all, acrylic paints are made from a range of different materials, so doesn’t that mean they can also be highly flammable? 

Well, if you have ever wondered about this while trying to dry your work, then we have everything you need to know.

In this article, we are going to take a look at acrylic paint to see if it is flammable, while also defining the differences between flammable and combustible substances.

So if you want to keep things safe the next time you reach for the paints, here is all the useful information that you need. 

Flammable vs Combustible – What’s The Difference? 

Before we can examine the flammability of acrylic paint, we first need to define the differences between a flammable and combustible substance. 

Although both terms refer to a material or liquid that can be ignited with a flame, they are actually two very different things and are often categorized as two separate entities with their own unique properties and characteristics. 

However, the biggest difference between flammable and combustible substances is their flashpoint, with flammable substances often having a lower flashpoint than something that is defined as combustible. 

Traditionally, flammable substances will have a flashpoint that falls below 37.8 degrees Celsius, while combustible substances will have a flashpoint above 37.8 degrees Celsius but below 93.3 degrees Celsius. 

The Key Differences

To help you further understand the differences between flammable and combustible substances, we have outlined the various differences in the section below: 

Flammable Substances 

  • Flammable substances will usually burn at normal working temperatures. 
  • Flammable substances have a low flashpoint (which is typically lower than 37.8 degrees C)
  • Primary examples of flammable substances include: gas, rubber, paper, grass and paint thinners. 

Combustible Substances 

  • Combustible substances will usually burn above normal working temperatures. 
  • Combustible substances have a higher flashpoint than flammable substances (this will usually be above 37.8 degrees C and below 93.3 degrees C) 
  • Primary examples of combustible substances include: coal, paints, aluminium and treated wood.

Is Acrylic Paint Flammable? 

Acrylic Paint

If you work exclusively with acrylic paint, then you are probably wondering if acrylics are flammable?

Well, there is no short and simple answer to this question, as the conclusion often depends on the condition of the acrylic paint when it has been exposed to fire or intense heat. 

When acrylic paint is wet, it takes the form of a thick liquid that can be easily diluted and mixed for artistic purposes, which means that the product itself must contain a percentage of liquid to stay moist during use.

In fact, most acrylic paints actually contain a large amount of water, which means they cannot be flammable due to the amount of moisture that is present within them. 

However, the same thing cannot be said about acrylic paint once it has dried, as the paint begins to take on a new chemical composition during the drying process.

Unlike other paints available on the market, acrylic paint is made using plastic, which then hardens into a plastic polymer once the paint has dried. 

Because of this, dried acrylic paints are considered to be a flammable substance, as many polymers often fall into this category. So when using acrylic paint, you should avoid introducing it to intense heat, otherwise, you could risk setting your work and studio on fire. 

Are Acrylic Paint Fumes Flammable? 

Although paints can be a wonderful way to express your creativity, some certain products do come with the negative setback of releasing toxic fumes, which can be dangerous when a person is exposed to them for long periods of time.

Some of these fumes have also been known to be flammable and can immediately catch fire when exposed to a naked flame. 

Fortunately, acrylic paints do not produce fumes that are toxic or flammable, although there is a range of other products that can. 

These products include: 

  • Oil-based paints
  • Enamels 
  • Varnish 
  • Lacquer 
  • Mineral spirits
  • Turpentine 
  • Kerosene 
  • Acetone 
  • Paint thinners 
  • Enamel paints

If you are a frequent user of any of the products listed, then you need to take certain precautions to avoid a fire from starting in your studio or workspace.

For example, if you want to reduce the build-up of toxic fumes, then you can do this by opening windows and ensuring that your studio is well ventilated.

It is also important to always wear the appropriate gear when working with toxic materials or products that produce dangerous fumes, as this will protect you from illness and injuries and allow you to paint in a safe and maintained space. 

Is Latex Paint Flammable? 

Another popular painting product is latex paint, which contains a water-soluble base that can be mixed with polyvinyl to create an acrylic resin.

Although it is commonly referred to as latex paint, the product does not actually contain any latex or rubber, which makes it suitable for painters with a latex allergy.

Known for its smooth and attractive finish, latex paint has risen in popularity among painters across the world and is often favored for its easy cleanup and application.

And although some may wonder if the paint is flammable, we are here to tell you that it is not.

Similar to acrylic paint, latex paint is a water-based product, which means it contains too much liquid to be flammable when it is still wet.

However, unlike acrylic paints, latex paint is also not flammable when it dries and the paint itself does not produce any flammable or toxic fumes.

Conclusion

So there you have it, acrylic paint is not flammable when it is wet but can become flammable once it has dried on a canvas or sculpture.

So the next time you use acrylic paints, make sure to use them safely and in an environment that is well ventilated and controlled.

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