1.1 This document specifies a method for determining the flow time of paints, varnishes and related products that can be used to control consistency. 1.2 Four flow cups of similar dimensions, but having orifice diameters of 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm and 6 mm, are specified. Two methods for checking the flow cups for wear and tear are given (see Annex A). Flow cups with a replaceable jet are not covered by this International Standard as the close tolerances on the supply of the material under test to the jet are not met. Commonly used dipping flow cups are also not covered by this International Standard. In general, the fabrication tolerances for such flow cups are greater than those of the flow cups specified in this International Standard. Therefore flow time determinations with dipping flow cups give a precision which is lower than that obtained with the flow cups specified in this International Standard (see Clause 9). 1.3 The method is limited to testing materials for which the breakpoint of the flow from the orifice of the flow cup can be determined with certainty. This point is difficult to determine and reproduce for materials with flow times near the upper limit of the measurement range (100 s) due to slowing-down effects. 1.4 Flow times are reproducible only for products of Newtonian or near-Newtonian flow properties. This effectively limits their practical use. Nevertheless, for checking purposes, these flow cups do serve a useful purpose. Furthermore, the measurement of flow time is often used to confirm the application consistency. Paints often contain flow-arresting agents to confer increased viscosity. Such paints exhibit non- Newtonian flow properties. Their viscosity during application can only be properly assessed using viscometers such as that described in ISO 3219. Resins and varnishes can exhibit Newtonian or near-Newtonian flow at much higher viscosities than most paints and, where this applies, flow cups can provide a useful means of controlling the consistency. To meet this requirement, this International Standard provides flow cups suitable for viscosities up to about 700 mm2/s. With thixotropic materials, stirring or other such mechanical disturbance immediately before testing will reduce the flow time compared with that for an unstirred sample. With such materials, uncertain and variable flow time values are obtained with all the flow cups. The repeatability and reproducibility limits given in Clause 9 cannot be achieved in the determination of the flow time of such materials.