origin latin for: "dwarf"
One billionth of a stated unit.
Here: E.g.: 0.000,000,001 of a meter.
Let’s put the nanometer scale a little into perspective:
- A DNA molecule is about 2.5 nanometers wide.
- A single water molecule is about 0.3 nanometers in diameter.
- A typical virus particle ranges in size from 20 to 400 nanometers.
- The width of a human hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers.
- The size of a single gold atom is about 0.24 nanometers.
- The thickness of a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers.
- The diameter of a carbon nanotube is typically between 1 and 100 nanometers.
- The size of a single neuron in the human brain is about 4,000 nanometers.
- The wavelength of visible light ranges from about 400 to 700 nanometers.
- The thickness of a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers.
- A single red blood cell is about 7,000 nanometers in diameter.
- The size of a typical bacterium is about 1,000 nanometers.
- The width of a fingerprint ridge is about 500 nanometers.
- The diameter of a typical human skin cell is about 30,000 nanometers.
- The size of a single grain of table salt is about 100,000 nanometers.
- The size of a single pollen grain is about 10,000 nanometers.
- The thickness of a human fingernail is about 1,000,000 nanometers.
- The size of a single ant is about 5,000,000 nanometers.
- The thickness of a soap bubble is about 100 nanometers.
Regarded as a leap in technology, nanotechnology, or nanotech, involves engineering and manipulation of materials at a granular level – atomic and molecular (1-100 nanometers). Proposed first by Richard Feynman in 1959, nanotech's potential was foreseen early. Instruments like the scanning tunnelling microscope (1981) and the atomic force microscope (1986) allowed scientists to manipulate individual atoms and molecules, laying the groundwork for modern nanotechnology.
Today, nanotech's pivotal achievements span creating innovative materials with distinct electrical, magnetic, and optical characteristics, evolving novel medical diagnostics and treatments, and fabricating devices for better energy production and storage. With a promising outlook, it has the potential to revolutionise industries such as medicine, electronics, energy, and materials science.
The Expanding Scope of Nanotechnology
- Medicine & Biotechnology: From diagnostic methods like biosensors to new therapeutic methods including precise drug delivery and gene therapy.
- Electronics & Quantum Computing: Development of small, efficient electronic components, memory devices and work in quantum computing.
- Energy Sector: Use in the production and storage of energy, mainly in solar cells and batteries.
- Materials & Smart Materials: Creation of new materials with unique properties and smart materials that adapt to their environment.
- Environmental Science & Monitoring: Leveraged for environmental preservation and monitoring, covering water and air purification and contaminant remediation.
- Cosmetics: Enhancement of product performance ranging from sunscreens to makeup.
- Agriculture & Food Packaging: Improved crop yields, pest control, and extending food shelf life.
- Defence: Development of lightweight, durable materials for military use.
- Optoelectronics: Involvement in the development of devices controlling light and electricity flow.
- Advanced Manufacturing & Automotive: Utilised to improve manufacturing processes and automotive component efficiency.
- Cybersecurity: Development of new data and communications security methods, such as quantum encryption.
- Therapeutic Delivery: Implemented in the development of precise drug and therapy delivery systems.
The robust applications of nanotechnology are poised to bring exponential advancements across sectors. Nanocoating, btw., as a sector of nanotechnology, has been widely adopted by various industries to enhance efficiency, durability, and performance of their products or infrastructure.
Hydrophobic / Hydrophobicity/hʌɪdrə(ʊ)ˈfəʊbɪk/
latin: "fear of water" Certain nanoparticles (NPs) can manipulate surfaces so that water (or any liquid) simply runs off or can be easily wiped away. This phenomenon has many applications, such as coating windows, glass facades, vehicles, car seats, textiles, solar panels, and thousands more. When a hydrophobic substance is applied to a surface, an invisible layer develops that adheres to the surface on a molecular level and can last for a very long time. Hydrophobic layers have a strong self-cleaning effect on plastics, heat pipes, metals, textiles, glass, paints, and electronics. They also improve the anti-freezing behaviour of heat pipes, preventing unwanted build-up, and function as a water and dust-protecting coat on electronics.
This property has huge potential for products in a large variety of industry sectors, such as water treatment, heat transfer applications, biomedical devices, and many others.
An extreme version of hydrophobicity is called super-hydrophobicity, where the effect is further amplified.
Additional Benefits of Hydrophobic Surfaces:
- Low Surface Energy: Hydrophobic surfaces have low surface energy, which means that they do not easily interact with other substances. This is useful for creating non-stick surfaces and reducing friction.
- Chemical Resistance: Hydrophobic surfaces can be resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, bases, and solvents. This makes them useful for protecting surfaces from chemical damage.
- UV Resistance: Hydrophobic coatings can also have UV resistance which makes them useful for protecting surfaces from UV radiation. This can help to prevent fading and other forms of damage caused by exposure to sunlight.
- Self-Cleaning: Dirt and other particles can easily be removed by water droplets or blowing air. This can make them useful for applications where cleaning is difficult, expensive or time-consuming.
- Durability: Hydrophobic coatings can be very durable and have a long life-span which makes them useful for applications where the surface is exposed to harsh conditions.
- Biocompatibility: Some hydrophobic coatings can be biocompatible, which means that they do not harm living organisms, this makes them useful for medical and pharmaceutical applications.
- Anti-fouling: Prevents the buildup of germs on surfaces. This can be useful for an infinite number of use-cases is almost any industry.
- Anti-bacterial: Useful for medical applications and surfaces that need to be kept hygienic such as kitchen counters, cutting boards, and other surfaces with infinite applications.
- Oil-repellent: Hydrophobic coatings can be tailored to be oil-repellent which can be useful for protecting surfaces from oil spills, this can be useful for marine, oil and gas industries and countless others.
Hydrophilic / Hydrophilicity/ˌhʌɪdrə(ʊ)ˈfɪlɪk/
latin: "love for water" A hydrophilic coating increases the wetting on a surface. In applications like "anti-fog", it is often desirable to a have a uniform sheet of liquid. Hydrophilic coatings readily spread water around the object when exposed to moisture, thus enhancing its lubricity and significantly reducing surface friction.
Hydrophilic coatings act like microscopic sponges, gripping the water (or other liquid) to provide low frictional characteristics as long as the surface remains wet. These types of coatings are most notably used in the medical industry for coating medical devices and specifically, surgical tools.
Because these tools regularly come into contact with skin and bodily fluids, minimal friction is crucial. Surfaces coated with hydrophilic coatings exhibit low pulling forces and are able to navigate anatomical pathways while lessening patient discomfort. The hydrophilic concept is used in many industries. For example, hydrophilic membrane filtration is used in several industries to filter various substances such as Bacteria, Viruses, Particulates, Drugs, Contaminates.
Hydrophilic coatings are particularly effective in environments of excessive condensation (visors, mirrors, goggles as the most well-known examples) to major industrial applications, for example, to protect exchangers from the corrosive effect of water.
A hydrophilic coating also exhibits a fine performance in providing protection against water in high temperature and salty environments. An extreme version of "hydrophilic" is called super-hydrophilic, where the effect is further amplified.
- In medicine, hydrophilic materials are often used in contact lenses, wound dressings, and implants because they are able to absorb and retain water, which helps to keep the tissues moist and promote healing.
- In agriculture, hydrophilic polymers can be used as water-absorbing gels to retain water in soil, helping to improve crop yields in arid regions.
- In industrial processes, hydrophilic materials are used in a range of applications, such as water purification and oil recovery.
- In water purification, hydrophilic membranes can be used to filter out impurities, while in oil recovery, hydrophilic polymers can be used to enhance the recovery of oil from reservoirs.
- In the construction industry, hydrophilic coatings can be applied to building materials to make them more resistant to water damage.
- In textiles / fabrics, hydrophilic fibres can be used to create fabrics that wick away sweat and moisture from the skin, keeping the wearer cool and dry.
- In the field of personal care, hydrophilic ingredients can be used in cosmetics and skin care products to help them better absorb into the skin and provide moisturising benefits.
- In the field of food and beverage, Hydrophilic agents are used to thicken and stabilise various food products. They help to prevent separation of components and to maintain the desired consistency of food products.
- In the field of pharmaceuticals, Hydrophilic excipients are used in the formulation of tablet, capsules, creams, gels and other dosage forms. They are used to improve the flowability of powders, the wetting and dissolution of tablets, and the bioavailability of drugs.
- ... and many more
Oleophobic / Oleophobicity\ olioˈfō-bik\
latin: "fear of oil/fat" Oleophobic materials have a smooth, non-stick surface that repels oil and other liquids. They are commonly used in a wide variety of applications where oil-resistance is important, such as consumer electronics, kitchen appliances, and medical devices.
In general, Oleophobic nanocoatings are used on surface treatment of metals, ceramics, plastics, and other materials to make them oil-friendly. They act as a barrier against oil and chemicals, protecting the surface from corrosion, and other types of damage Oleophobic coatings have a wide range of uses, and they can have a significant impact in many industrial and scientific areas. They can be beneficial in a number of different ways, depending on the specific application.
- Think Devices: One of the most common applications of oleophobic materials is in the creation of coating for touchscreen displays, such as smartphones and tablets, which helps to reduce smudging and fingerprinting.
- Think kitchen appliances, oleophobic coatings can be applied to prevent oils and greases from sticking to the surface of the cookware, making them easier to clean.
- Think medical industry, Oleophobic coatings are used on surgical instruments and other medical devices to prevent oil and other substances from adhering to their surfaces.
- Think aerospace industry, oleophobic coatings are used on aircraft parts and components to protect against the build-up of oil and other liquids, which can cause corrosion and damage to the aircraft.
- Think sports equipment, oleophobic coatings are used on sports gear such as balls, gloves, and other equipment to reduce the grip of oil and sweat and provide a better performance.
- Think packaging, oleophobic coatings are used on packaging materials to prevent oils and other liquids from penetrating the packaging and spoiling the contents.
- Think lab equipment, oleophobic coatings are used on laboratory glassware and other equipment to prevent oils and other liquids from adhering to the surfaces and making them difficult to clean.
- Think fashion and apparel, oleophobic coatings are used on fabrics and textiles to repel oil and other liquids, which can be useful in creating stain-resistant clothing and accessories.
- Think optics and optoelectronics, oleophobic coatings are used on optical surfaces such as lenses and mirrors to repel oil and other liquids, which can improve the performance of the optical device and help to maintain its clarity.
- Think furniture and architecture, oleophobic coatings are used on surfaces such as countertops, tables, and flooring to resist oil, dirt, and other liquids that can cause discolouration or stains.
- Think recreational products, oleophobic coatings are used on outdoor gear such as camping and hiking equipment, fishing gear, and hunting equipment to reduce the adhesion of dirt and oil, making them more durable.
- Think personal care, oleophobic coatings can be used in hair care products, such as hair sprays, gels, and mousses to provide a lightweight, non-greasy finish.
Omniphobic / Omniphobicity\ omniˈfō-bik\
latin: "fear of everything"
Omniphobic surfaces have a number of unique properties, including:
- Low adhesion: Liquids and other materials have a difficult time adhering to an omniphobic surface, making them easy to clean and maintain.
- Low wetting: Liquids will bead up and roll off an omniphobic surface, rather than spreading out and wetting the surface. This property is known as "low wetting."
- High contact angle: The contact angle is a measure of how much a liquid beads up on a surface. An omniphobic surface will have a high contact angle, meaning that the liquid will bead up more on the surface.
- Low energy: Omniphobic surfaces typically have a low surface energy, which means that they don't easily attract other materials.
- High stability: The surface structure does not change over time, keeping its high hydrophobicity and oleophobicity performance
It's also worth noting that some Omniphobic surfaces can also have special properties such as UV resistance, Chemical resistance, high temperature resistance and even anti-bacterial properties, depending on the coating materials and the process of creating the surface.
- Marine: Omniphobic coatings created with nanotechnology can be applied to ships and other marine structures to prevent the accumulation of scratches, shells and other marine organisms. This can help reduce drag and fuel consumption.
- Water treatment: Used in water treatment plants to prevent the formation of biofilms that can clog pipes and reduce the effectiveness of treatments
- Oil and Gas: Omniphobic coatings created with nanotechnology can be applied to oil and gas pipelines to prevent the accumulation of wax, paraffin and other substances that clog pipes
- Medical: omniphobic surfaces created by nanotechnologies can be used in medical devices such as catheters and stents to prevent blood clots
- Buildings: Omniphobic coatings created with nanotechnology can be applied to building exteriors and roofing materials to reduce dirt and dust accumulation.
- Appliances: Nanotechnology-engineered omniphobic coatings can be used to create non-stick surfaces on cookware, ovens, and other kitchen appliances
- Textiles: Nanotechnology-engineered omniphobic coatings can be applied to fabrics to resist liquids and stains.
- Paint coatings: applied to the exterior of cars to reduce the buildup of dirt, dust, and other substances that can make the car difficult to clean. Improves the aerodynamics of the car, which can lead to better fuel efficiency.
- Windshields / Mirrors: prevent the buildup of raindrops, which can improve visibility in rainy conditions and reduce the need for wipers.
- Interior surfaces: e.g. seats and dashboards, to to repel liquids and make them easier to clean.
- Fuel systems: fuel tanks and fuel injectors, to prevent the buildup of dirt and other substances that can clog the system and reduce performance.
- Engine: oil and coolant systems, to improve their performance and efficiency.
Nanotechnology's application for surface protection presents numerous advantages. It enables highly effective, durable coatings providing properties such as water and oil repellency, scratch resistance, anti-corrosion, and, importantly, self-cleaning capabilities. With these coatings, surfaces not only meet performance standards but do so in a thin, lightweight manner, crucial in industries such as aerospace and automotive.
Notable Benefits of Nano-coatings
- Versatility: Improved durability, enhanced surface properties (hydrophobicity, oleophobicity), greater resistance to environmental factors, cost-effectiveness, and a wide range of practical applications from aesthetics to flexibility.
- Improved Biological & Energy Performance: This includes promoting cell growth, preventing bacterial infections, reducing heat absorption, and reducing light reflection on a surface, resulting in energy savings.
- Special Attributes: Multifunctional properties offering UV-resistance, self-cleaning, anti-fog properties, and more. Also, coatings for improved fire resistance, tribological properties, anti-static applications, and to reduce VOC emissions.
- Enhancement of Physical Properties: These include optical, electrical, thermal, mechanical properties, and UV-protection, essential while working with solar cells, displays, cameras, and electronic devices.
- Protection & Longevity: Helping increase the service life of a surface, improve barrier properties, and add anti-slip properties for safer environments.
- Eco-friendly & Health Benefits: Reduced emissions or energy consumption mean preserving environmental health, while anti-microbial properties are beneficial in healthcare and food processing industries.
- Cost Reduction: Lower application costs, cut in maintenance costs, and enhanced durability lead to cost savings.
Given the extensive applicability and conveniences, nano-coatings are an increasingly popular choice for surface protection across industries.
- Anti-fouling coatings for ship hulls, minimizing marine organism attachment.
- Corrosion-resistant coatings for offshore oil rigs, preventing degradation.
- Icephobic coatings on ocean-going vessels, reducing ice accumulation.
- Hydrophobic coatings for submarines' periscopes, ensuring clear views.
- Fuel-efficient nanocoatings for shipping vessels, enhancing fuel consumption efficiency.
- Self-cleaning coatings for high-rise building facades, lowering maintenance costs.
- Thermal insulation coatings for buildings, reducing heat loss and energy consumption.
- Anti-graffiti coatings for public structures, simplifying clean-up.
- Fire-resistant coatings for interior structures, boosting safety.
- UV-protection coatings for glass windows and façades, significantly minimizing UV damage.
Automotive and Transportation Applications
- Icephobic coatings for aircraft, decreasing the need for de-icing procedures.
- Paint protection coatings for vehicles, offering shielding from wear and tear.
- Hydrophobic coatings applied on windshields, improving visibility under rain.
- Nanocoatings for enhanced fuel efficiency in vehicles, reducing environmental impact.
- Anti-fouling coatings for train exteriors, simplifying cleanliness maintenance.
- Antimicrobial coatings for medical instruments, preventing infection spread.
- Biocompatible coatings for implants, aiding with integration and reducing rejection risks.
- Hydrophilic coatings on intravenous catheters, easing insertion.
- Nanocoatings on surgical masks, enhancing filtration and repelling contaminants.
- Antifouling coatings for artificial hearts and other prosthetic devices, preventing unwanted cellular adhesion.
Electronics and Optics Applications
- Antistatic coatings for electronic devices, preventing static electricity buildup.
- Increased resistance to wear and tear for machinery through specific nanocoating applications.
- Coatings improving optical properties in lenses, binoculars and microscopes.
- UV-protection coatings for outdoor digital displays, prolonging lifetimes by reducing UV-induced degradation.
- Nanocoatings enhancing energy storage capabilities in batteries.
Manufacturing and Industrial Applications
- Nanocoatings improving the adhesion and bonding in composite materials.
- Durable coatings for industrial machinery enhancing product lifespan.
- Coatings improving thermal conductivity, used in heat-intensive industrial processes.
- Antistatic coatings for various manufacturing processes, reducing the risk of static-induced accidents.
- Nanocoatings providing resistance to chemical exposure in industrial environments.
- Metals: Metals such as aluminium, steel, and titanium can be nano coated to improve their corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and tribological properties.
- Ceramics: Ceramic materials such as alumina, silicon carbide, and zirconia can be nano coated to improve their wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility.
- Polymers: Polymers ('plastics') such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polycarbonate can easily be nano coated to improve their wear resistance, corrosion resistance, microbial resistance and tribological properties.
- Composites: Composites such as fibre-reinforced polymers, metal-matrix composites, and ceramic-matrix composites can be nano coated to improve their wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and tribological properties.
- Glasses: Glass can be nano coated with various materials, such as titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide or zinc oxide to improve its hydrophobicity, scratch resistance, and UV protection.
- Biomaterials: Biomaterials such as biodegradable polymers, natural fibres, and ceramics can be nano coated to improve their bioactivity and biocompatibility.
- Semiconductors: Semiconductor materials such as silicon and gallium arsenide can be nano coated to improve their electrical and optical properties
- Biomedical implants: Biomedical implants such as surgical instruments, pacemakers, and dental implants can be nano coated to improve their biocompatibility and reduce the risk of infection.
- Textiles: Textile materials such as cotton, wool, and synthetic fabrics can be nano coated to improve their water and stain resistance, UV protection, and antimicrobial properties.
- Concrete: Concrete and other construction materials can be nano coated with materials such as silica and titanium dioxide nanoparticles to improve their strength, durability, and self-cleaning properties.
- Woods / Fibres: improve its durability, resistance to moisture and stains, and overall appearance. There are several different types of nano-coating that can be used on wood, depending on the desired outcome.
- Brick and stone: applied to provide water repellency, which can help to prevent water penetration and staining. These coatings can also provide protection against mould, mildew and other germs
- Ceramic and marble: nanocoatings can provide resistance to stains, scratches, and etching. They can also provide protection against water and other liquids, making them easier to clean and maintain. Certain nanomaterials can offer an anti-slip effect
Improper Preparation and Application
- Incorrect surface preparation: Failure to deeply clean and prepare surfaces can result in lackluster bonding.
- Incorrect application: Mistakes in application methods, incorrect thickness, and inadequate curing can introduce weakness.
- Insufficient quality control: Production inconsistencies can lead to poor performance and premature failure.
- Inadequate real-world testing: Ensuring that lab results translate to real-world success is essential for avoiding unseen issues.
Environmental and Durability Factors
- Hazardous environmental conditions: Extremes in temperature, UV exposure, and chemical harshness can degrade coatings.
- Limitations of robustness: Some coatings are unable to endure daily wear and tear, leading to rapid degradation.
- Fragility of nanoparticles: Nanoparticle aggregation or migration can hinder performance and durability.
Material and Coating Compatibility
- Unsuitable material composition: Certain materials like wood or textiles pose difficulties for consistent coating application.
- Rough surface morphology: Uneven, rough surfaces pose challenges to the adhesion of nano-coatings.
- Coating type incompatibility: Particular coatings work better with specific surface types.
- Material compatibility issues: The coating material must be physically and chemically compatible to avoid potential damage.
Improve Other Coatings
Enhancement in Everyday Realities
- Mechanical Properties: Nanocoatings can improve hardness, wear resistance, impact resistance and other mechanical properties of conventional coatings.
- Barrier Properties: Nanocoatings show better resistance against water, vapor and UV radiation, enhancing the barrier properties of conventional coatings.
- Durability: Nanocoatings can increase a coating's resistance to environmental conditions such as corrosion, weathering, and UV radiation, as a result improving durability.
- Functionalities: Nanocoatings can provide conventional coatings with new functionalities, including self-cleaning, anti-microbial, and anti-fogging properties.
Economic and Environmental Factors
- Cost-effectiveness: Nanocoatings offer cost-effective solutions as they can significantly improve the properties of conventional coatings, even when used in small quantities.
- Environmental Impact: Many nanocoatings are environmentally friendly, potentially leading to a reduction in the environmental footprint of other coatings.
Improving Efficiency and Performance
- Performance: By reinforcing durability, wear resistance and corrosion resistance, nanocoatings can improve performance and save on maintenance and replacement costs.
- Efficiency: Use of nanocoatings may reduce the volume of material necessary to achieve a particular level of performance, hence increasing efficiency.
Enhancement of Coating Features
- Optical properties: Nanocoatings can enhance colour, transparency, and reflectivity of conventional coatings.
- Flexibility: Nanocoatings can provide coatings with added flexibility, useful for coating flexible substrates.
- Electrical properties: Nanocoatings can improve a coating's conductivity, dielectric constant, and permittivity.
- Thermal properties: Including thermal conductivity, thermal stability, and heat resistance of coatings can be improved by nanocoatings.
Advancements in Adhesion and Protection
- Adhesion: Nanocoatings can enhance the adhesion of coatings to various substrates, improving the bonding between the coating and the substrate.
- Anti-corrosion: Through nanocoatings, anti-corrosion properties of coatings can be enhanced, resulting in improved durability.
- Anti-fouling: Nanocoatings can improve the anti-fouling properties of coatings, therefore enhancing performance in marine and underwater applications.
- Mechanical enhancements: Nanomaterials increase hardness, wear and impact resistance of coatings.
- Barrier properties: Nanomaterials enhance coatings' resistance to water, vapour and UV radiation.
- Durability: Resistance against corrosive environmental factors and wear potential are ameliorated with nanomaterials.
- Functionalities: Nanomaterials enable coatings to acquire advanced features, including self-cleaning and anti-fogging.
Efficiency and Performance
- Cost-effectiveness: Small quantities of nanomaterials are sufficient to significantly improve coatings.
- Environmental impact: Many nanomaterials are biodegradable, thus reducing the ecological footprint of coatings.
- Coating performance: Nanomaterials enhance durability, wear and corrosion resistance, saving maintenance and replacement costs.
- Efficiency: Nanomaterials reduce the volume of materials required for achieving desired performance.
- Optical properties: Nanomaterials can enhance coatings' color, transparency, and reflectivity.
- Flexibility: Nanomaterials can provide coatings with flexibility, useful for coating flexible substrates.
- Electrical properties: Conductivity, dielectric constant, and permittivity can be improved with nanomaterials.
- Thermal properties: Nanomaterials enhance thermal conductivity, stability and heat resistance of coatings.
Adhesion and Protection
- Adhesion: Nanomaterials improve coatings' ability to bond with various substrates.
- Anti-corrosion: Enhances anti-corrosive properties of coatings, improving durability.
- Anti-fouling: Anti-fouling properties of coatings are improved, crucial for maritime applications.
- Sol-gel method: Involves the synthesis of a coating material in a liquid solution, which is then applied to the substrate and cured to form a solid coating. This method can be used to apply a wide range of coatings including, but not limited to, metal oxides, ceramic and hybrid materials. The sol-gel process can be applied by dip-coating, spin-coating or spray-coating techniques.
- Physical vapour deposition (PVD): PVD involves the evaporation of a coating material in a vacuum chamber, where it condenses onto the substrate. PVD can be carried out by several techniques such as thermal evaporation, cathodic arc evaporation, sputter deposition, and electron-beam evaporation. PVD coatings can be applied on various substrate materials, including metals, ceramics, and polymers.
- Chemical vapour deposition (CVD): CVD involves the chemical reaction of gaseous precursors to form a solid coating on the substrate. The CVD process can be carried out at high temperatures (typically greater than 600 °C) or at room temperature, depending on the coating material and the substrate. CVD coatings can be applied on various substrate materials, including metals, ceramics, and polymers.
- Electrodeposition: Involves the application of an electric current to deposit a coating material onto the substrate. The process occurs in an electrolytic cell, where the substrate is the cathode and the coating material is dissolved in the electrolyte. Electrodeposition can be used to apply a wide range of coatings including, but not limited to, metals and alloys.
- Spray coating: Involves the use of a spray gun to apply a liquid coating material to the substrate. Spray coating is widely used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and architectural coatings. The method is efficient and can be used to apply thick coatings in a short time.
- Dip coating: Involves immersing the substrate in a liquid coating material and then removing it to form a thin film on the surface. Dip coating can be used to apply a wide range of coatings including, but not limited to, polymers, ceramics and metals. The process is simple and cost-effective, making it popular in several industries.
- Spin coating: Involves spinning the substrate at high speeds while coating material is applied to the substrate. The centrifugal force causes the coating material to spread evenly over the substrate surface. This method is commonly used to apply thin films of polymers and other organic materials.
- Inkjet printing: Involves the use of a specialised inkjet printer to apply nano-coatings onto the substrate. The process is highly precise and can be used to apply coatings with complex patterns and structures. This method is commonly used in the electronics and biomedical industries.
- Rolling or doctor blade method: Involves spreading a coating material on a roller or blade and then pressing it onto the substrate. This method is commonly used to apply thin films of polymers and other organic materials.
- Electro-spinning: Involves the creation of fibres from a polymer solution or melt by applying a high-voltage electric field. The fibres are collected on a substrate to form a thin film coating. This method is commonly used to apply coatings for biomedical and electronic applications.
There are some more application techniques such as Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), electroless plating, electrostatic spraying, thermal spraying, electroplating, chemical vapour infiltration (CVI), etc.
All of these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of method will depend on the specific desired properties of the coating.
- Automotive & Aerospace: Nanocoatings improve durability and performance of vital components, offering wear resistance, anti-corrosion, and thermal insulation.
- Construction & Infrastructure: Enhancing durability and aesthetics of building materials, self-cleaning and anti-corrosion properties are often desired.
- Energy & Energy storage: Nanocoatings improve performance and lifespan of energy-generating materials and storage devices, including solar panels and Lithium-ion batteries.
- Electronics: Protecting devices from water damage and bacteria, and enhancing overall performance.
- Environmental & Water treatment: Improving performance of environmental remediation products and water treatment systems, with benefits like pollutant breakdown and biofilm prevention.
- Facilities Management: Used extensively in living spaces to improve durability, resistance to stains, and hygiene.
- Industrial, Manufacturing, Food and Beverage: Enhancing durability and performance of equipment and improving safety and shelf life of food products.
- Healthcare: Enhancing the performance and safety of medical devices and implants.
- Textiles & Fabrics: Improving durability of textiles and inhibiting bacterial growth on surfaces.
- Military & Law enforcement: Protecting equipment from damage and improving durability of protective gear.
- Paint & Coatings: Creating multipurpose paint products with properties like self-cleaning, UV protection and water resistance.
- Agriculture: Protecting plants and enhancing efficiency of farming operations.
This is a glimpse into the diverse applications of nanocoatings in the modern industrial landscape.