Nanotechnology is rapidly gaining recognition to significantly benefit for the coatings industry

Nanotechnology is rapidly gaining recognition as having the potential to provide significant benefits for the coatings industry. The most publicized benefits include scratch resistance, UV protection and weathering protection. In addition to improved coating performance, nanotechnology also provides benefits, such as reduced energy and reduced material consumption. Nanoparticles including metal oxides, clays and resins dominate the market for nanotechnology-based coatings. Newer carbon based nanotubes are now being developed for use in transparent conductive coatings and low weight, high strength coatings.

Nanoparticles are generally defined by shape, surface area, particle size distribution, surface charge, structure and agglomeration and typically range from 1 to 100 nanometers (nm). Nanoparticles are characterized by extremely large surface areas and this property results in nanoparticles having different chemical and physical properties compared to the same material in bulk form. The higher surface area results in using fewer nanoparticles as compared to the same additive in bulk form to achieve improved coating properties. One advantage of using a reduced amount of nanoparticles to improve coating properties as compared to bulk additives is the lower concentration results in little effect on coating viscosity.

Nanoscale materials can be used in solvent and water-based coatings as well as UV coatings and powder coatings. Sales of nanocoatings have been projected to exceed 11 billion dollars by 2016. In June, we asked our members to share their experience with nanotechnology. The question we asked was: Which of the following performances do you think will truly benefit from nano-resins & nano-additives? The results of the balloting are as follows:

  • Surface effects (anti-stain, self-repair, air-cleaning, antimicrobial) (41.1%)
  • Scratch/wear resistance (32.6%)
  • Weatherability/photostability (10.3%)
  • Optical effects (8.0%)
  • Adhesion (8.0%)