Last week we explored the properties and uses of denatured alcohol, an important solvent we use to clean surfaces and equipment for industrial and commercial painting. We also rely on mineral spirits for reducing paints and cleaning application tools after use. Although it has similar uses to those of denatured alcohol, mineral spirits have different physicochemical properties.
Mineral spirits, also known as “white spirit,” are petroleum-sourced mixtures of medium-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons ranging from 6 to 12 carbon atoms, but having a predominance of chains with 10 or more carbons as well as hexane (C6H14). Some mineral spirits also contain aromatic hydrocarbons like benzene. However, others, like Sherwin Williams R1K4 Mineral Spirits, are 100 percent aliphatic. The R1K4 product has a weight, volatile organic compound content and coating density of 6.42 pounds per gallon. The product’s flash point is 105°F and its specific gravity is 0.77. Other fun facts: R1K4 boils between 300°F and 395°F, is heavier than air and evaporates slower than does ether.