Nanomaterials in Industry: Coatings

What is a coating? A coating is a film of a certain material that is applied on a surface with the purpose of achieving a change in its properties. A very common example in this branch are paints, since applying a coat of paint is not only changing the color of a surface; it also offers protection against corrosion, change in texture, etc. In this entry, we will talk about how with the help of nanotechnology we can broaden the spectrum of properties to be improved or created in a given material.

In general, the applications of nanomaterials as coatings are varied. Below, we will discuss two of them:

The first is hydrophobic coatings. More than one of us will have seen a commercial where dirty water is poured on clothes or on the paintwork of a car and they do not get dirty. This phenomenon is known as hydrophobicity and is achieved with the help of nanoparticles contained in the products. Companies such as Nanoshield and Nano Depot have a wide range of these hydrophobic products for different surfaces on the market. It is important to mention that when a hydrophobic surface is generated, it not only facilitates the cleaning of the substrate, but also generates a layer of protection against corrosive substances and increases the life time of the materials.

On the other hand, there are catalytic coatings. As mankind has developed, the burning of fossil fuels has exponentially increased the concentration of greenhouse gases, and it is our responsibility to decrease these concentrations before it is too late. That is why companies like Riegen have created a paint that, thanks to a process called photocatalysis, is capable of degrading nitrogen oxide pollutant gases (better known as NOX's). This process occurs on the surface of the paint and, with the help of sunlight and nanoparticles present in the product, transforms the NOX's into crystals that adhere to the surface.

As we could see, the use of nanoparticles in coatings demonstrates the great benefits that can be obtained. These range from an invisible layer of high protection for your goods to the conservation of the environment. At My Nano Academy, we highlight the importance of the continuous improvement that we can obtain thanks to the application of nanomaterials in the industry, since they allow us to solve current problems and new challenges that the future will bring.