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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanotechnologyKTN > Nano-enabled Coatings

Fiona Brewer
NanoKTN

Abstract:
The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), in conjunction with NanoCentral, is holding a seminal event dedicated to raising current awareness of the potential impacts of nano-enabled coatings. It will also act as a forum for the creation of consortia wishing to build or develop supply chains to expedite the commercialisation of nano-enabled coatings and reap the forecast rewards. The ‘Nano-enabled Coatings' event, takes place on Wednesday 23rd September at BMA House, London.

August 6th, 2009

Nano-enabled Coatings

Nano-enabled coatings have been widely championed over the last decade with applications ranging from UV protection through to abrasion resistance and self-cleaning surfaces. However, to-date, applications commercialised successfully have been small volume, high added value. Although this is usual of new technology introductions, the time has arrived for the breakthrough into large volume, mass applications, although several obstacles still need to be overcome before this goal can be achieved.

Firstly, nanomaterials need to be made available at more economic prices. Secondly, the dispersion and stabilisation of nanomaterials needs to be achieved optimally and reproducibly. And finally, the Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) issues around nanomaterials need to be addressed to give assurance to all stakeholders.

The event will see presentations from a number of experts working in this area, including;

Andrew Jackson, Information Research:
Andrew Jackson will look at what a nanomaterial is from a corporate perspective and will offer insight into the current status of these materials' integration into the coatings industry. Jackson will also look at the challenges that nanomaterial and nanocoating manufacturers face and will examine surrounding issues of health and safety, legislature, social pressures and current and potential uses.



Derek Illsley, Sun Chemical:
Barrier coatings reduce the transmission of certain gasses, liquids, radiation or other substances. Sun Chemical will concentrate on Oxygen and Moisture Vapour Barrier coatings applied to flexible substrates intended for food packaging applications. In the flexible packaging market there is an ongoing requirement to improve the gas barrier properties of flexible packaging in order to extend the shelf life of packaged foods.

The work presented here will show how naturally occurring Nanoclays can be used to dramatically enhance the performance of barrier coatings. The role of the clay type, particularly its aspect ratio, on the performance of barrier coatings will be described in detail. The influence of the inclusion of nanoclays into barrier coatings upon the mechanical properties of the coating and the diffusion mechanism will also be discussed. Finally, the use of these barrier coatings to enable lighter packaging, provide sustainable/compostable films with excellent barrier performance and enhance the barrier performance of current packaging types will be covered.

Professor Steven Abbott:
The litany of potential applications for nano-filled coatings is vast, ranging from carbon nanotubes for conductivity and/or strength, through ZnO particles for UV protection to Ag ultranano particles for anti-microbial coatings and many more.

So what are the practical problems stopping us from really exploiting these applications? This talk addresses two significant problem areas: dispersing the particles in a coating formulation and then preventing mud-cracking as the coating dries.
A remarkably simple technique can be used to give deep insights into nano-dispersion stability: dispersing your nanoparticle in about 20 different solvents. By plotting coordinates in 3D Hansen Solubility Parameter space you can derive a sphere showing where the nano-particles are stable.

With good dispersion, there is little problem in getting a good wet coating. But a severe practical problem often arises during the drying process: severe mud-cracking. The talk briefly outlines the causes of mud-cracking (capillary forces at the drying front) and shows how the effects can be mitigated.

Dr Trevor Rhodes, Head of Research & Development, HARMAN Technology:
In this talk, coating thin layers of alumina nano-particles in PVOH and silver halide nano-particles in gelatine will be discussed. The main problems we have encountered and
have had to overcome are cracking and binder migration. These are problems many coating industries face including other inkjet media manufacturers, paint manufacturers, and
the electronics industry. The common way of overcoming them in many industries is to use organic solvents, or so called eco-friendly solvents, in the coating formulations. However, as we move towards a more environmentally aware society, using any form of organic solvent (even ecofriendly ones) is frowned upon.

As a water-based coating company, HARMAN has had to learn how to prevent cracking and binder migration using purely aqueous formulations. The talk will cover some of the formulation and process factors we have found to be beneficial. It will also discuss some of the applications that having such a uniform coating can access, such as optical holographic elements, electronics, inkjet and barrier layers.

Barry Park, Chief Operating Officer, Oxonica:
Barry Park will review the current issues with UV protection of polymer coatings and their underlying substrates and consider the potential for using nanoparticulate inorganic UV absorbers. Materials such as zinc oxide, titnanium dioxide and cerium oxide have been considered as potential UV absorbers and key to effective use is their size and the ability to disperse them within the polymer matrix. Advantages of using inorganic UV absorbers over organic UV absorbers will also be discussed.
Dr Allen Reid, Executive Director, NANOGAP
NANOGAP manufactures a range of silver based nanomaterials for conductive and antimicrobial coating applications. NANOGAP silver nanofibre and nanoparticle systems, can be incorporated into coatings to impact antistatic properties with minimal effect on coating colour. NANOGAP silver nanoparticles and atomic quantum clusters (sub-nanometre clusters of between 2 and 150 atoms), exhibit broad antimicrobial activity when incorporated into coatings. Atomic quantum clusters have the added advantage of being completely transparent and can be highly effective even when used at ppm levels. Dr Reid will discuss the work and services of NANOGAP.

Dr Jonathon Phipps, Senior Scientist, Imerys:
Dr Phipps will look at nanoparticles and the different ways they can be used. Making synthetic nano-particles where they all have a diameter of 50nm or less is expensive and in many cases ultrafine particle size natural minerals can also fulfil the necessary functions. Dr Phipps will look at examples of applications in clear coatings where the use of natural minerals enhances mechanical properties such as hardness, strength and modulus, and in barrier coatings where high aspect ratio thin crystal aluminosilicates can provide excellent performance.

Peter Brown, Managing Director, Maelstrom Advanced Process Technologies Ltd:
Peter Brown will be looking at the rapid development of new and smaller nano-particles and nano-emulsions in laboratories that are not being matched by the development of industrial-scale process equipment, to incorporate them into bulk materials. State-of-the-art technologies are reaching their performance limits and Maelstrom Advanced Process Technologies Ltd is changing the way that equipment manufacturers work through its new facilities. Peter Brown will discuss the facilities and services available.

Diana Barbosa, Managing Director, SEAS Nano:
SEAS Nano is a leading provider of advanced environmental finishes and nanotechnology solutions, such as the photo-catalyst coatings it produces that are sprayed on surfaces to provide disease prevention, as well as bacteria and virus control. Diana Barbosa will be discussing the benefits of the photo-catalyst coatings in healthcare environments such as; ongoing protection against air and surface bio-contamination, bacteria and virus prevention and contaminant elimination to ensure MRSA, salmonella, swine flu, bird flu and mould spores do not spread.

Sasha Heriot, Chamelic Ltd:
Chamelic Ltd will discuss its services and methods of developing novel block co-polymers for both industrial and domestic applications, using technology based polymer technology. Such polymers can self assemble into spheres called micelles which are able to absorb onto a broad range of surfaces including metal, glass, plastic and painted surfaces. These materials have a wide variety of uses, particularly where controlled changes in properties such as adhesion, lubrication and wetting are required. Heriot will discuss the surface treatments that have been developed as a result of tuning the polymer properties. This process has many benefits such as; prevention and decrease of the build up of dirt, prevention of fogging and spot free finishes on surfaces.

Martin Pick, AssuredNano:
Safety, Health & Environmental (SHE) concerns are critical issues to the societal acceptance of nano-enabled materials and are seen by many as issues which have the potential to pose barriers to product acceptance. Globally, governmental and other organisations with an interest in SHE are tracking progress and they, together with academic and commercial organisations, are developing a growing body of ‘good practice' information. Martin Pick will explain how to understand and apply this good practice in a demonstrable manner. Several of the schemes in place to support responsible operations will be reviewed and compared, with emphasis being given to those which cover the full product life cycle from research to disposal.

The Nano-enabled Coatings event aims to bring together people with solutions to these issues, in order to forge a competitive nano-enabled coatings industry in the UK. By uniting those who work within this developing industry, the NanoKTN and NanoCentral want to develop pre-competitive programmes to advance the development of nano-enabled coatings and the identification of gaps in the UK supply chain, which are holding back mass commercialisation.

The event will bring together industrial companies with an interest in nanomaterials, nano-dispersion, nano-enabled coatings and nano-SHE. Attendance to this event is free of charge. Organisations and individuals wishing to attend should email Natasha Taylor:

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