Nano in paints and coatings
Improved paints and coatings
First of all, it's pretty hard to distinguish between the meaning of coatings and paint. So it might be better just to think of it as "coatings" being the general term and "paints" coming under the umbrella of coatings.
There are lots of paints and coatings which have been using some form of nano for a number of years.
When trying to grasp the use of nano in coatings, you should understand that sometimes just the ingredients in the coating are nano but the coating itself isn’t. And other times the actual coating structure is nano. The latter is more rarely used and is primarily restricted to use in the electronics industry. But the former is pretty broadly used.
In general, nanocoatings can be anti-graffiti, anti-static, anti-mist or anti-glare or they can block UV light while letting visible light through or coat medical devices to help counteract the rejection in the body.
The US navy is using coatings that contain nanoparticles to repair worn out parts on ships. Metal nanoparticles are being used in the electronics industry to coat the surfaces of capacitors. A coating made from nano titanium dioxide can make glass change colour when exposed to light or ensure that dirt on glass windows just washes away with the rain.
One of the first commercial applications for nano was the use of carbon nanotubes in paints. An early success was 'barnacle busting' paints. Algae and barnacles couldn't cling to the nano paint on ships and tankers and were just washed away, saving lots of money on cleaning, huge fuel savings and replacing previous coatings which were dangerous to marine life.
Nano can give both coatings and paints improved qualities making them of increased hardness, scratch, mould and bacteria resistance, easy clean and so lasting much longer in between applications.
The paint used on the Forth Bridge is said to include nano components - but now, instead of needing to start painting the bridge again when they have just finished it, as the saying goes - the bridge won't need painting for 25 years!
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