How to Choose the Right Nano Coating

nano coating (or nanocoating)

Nano coating offers protection down to the nanoscale

Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology that involves the manipulation of matter with dimensions of 1 to 100 nanometers, also called the nanoscale. To get a sense of just how small that is, a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. A nano coating is an ultra thin layer or chemical structure built up on a surface, as little as one molecule thick.

Nano coatings do not just form a layer over the substrate, but rather the individual particles of a nano coating arrange themselves in such a way that they actually bond with the surface. This provides a layer that clings firmly to the substrate, while providing a particular chemical or physical function for the surface.

How to determine the right nano coating for your project

When choosing the right nano coating for your project the same principles apply as with any other coating. With such a large range of applications, it is easy to get lost. Keep in mind the type of substrate you are coating, its environment, its use, and the purpose of the coating you want. We will guide you through the choice in three simple steps.

Before you begin be aware that nano coatings are not always the right solution. They are not suitable for old or contaminated substrates, and they are not permanent – they have a lifespan, and need to be replaced once it is up.

Step 1: What do you want from the coating

Before you can choose a coating, you need to know what you want from it. What is your substrate, what do you need for your substrate, and what do you need to protect it from? Different nano coatings have different properties, or different combinations of properties. The four basic functions are:

  1. Hydrophobic/oleophobic – Hydrophobic and oleophobic mean “water-fearing” and “oil-fearing” respectively. A hydrophobic or oleophobic coating uses silicon dioxide (SiO2) to repel water(or liquid) and oil. Waterproofing a substrate also protects from corrosion, urine, and provides a barrier between the substrate and the environment. These can be applied on almost all substrates – for preventing graffiti adhesion, for example.
  2. Hydrophilic – Hydrophilic means “water-loving”, and uses titanium dioxide (TiO2) to break down dirt and then wash it away. TiO2 becomes activated in the presence of sunlight, interacting with dirt and breaking it down. When it rains, the hydrophilic coating will attract the water to it and it runs like a sheet down its surface, taking the dirt with it. They also reduce friction and enhance lubricity. Skyscraper windows, solar panels, medical devices, self-cleaning glass – all of these use hydrophilic coatings.
  3. Antimicrobial – There are 3 main antimicrobial nano coating types: titanium dioxide (TiO2), organosilane, and silver. TiO2 breaks down organic substances, silver is a natural antimicrobial, and organosilanes work by providing an abrasive surface to which pathogens cannot adhere. The applications here are self-explanatory – from medical and surgical devices, sanitary surfaces in food preparation to water treatment facilities and even ductwork.
  4. Glass/ceramic coating – Based on silicon dioxide, this coating is used for its scratch resistance, hardness, heat resistance, electrical insulation, and weather resistance. Ceramic coatings are also hydrophobic. Ceramic coatings are particularly used for automotive finishes, anti-graffiti, and medical devices.

Step 2: Choosing the coating type for your needs

Once you understand the kind of protection you need, you can choose a coating. Below is a helpful table outlining the various protective properties of the coatings by ingredient.

PropertyTitanium DioxideSilicon DioxideSilver
Electrical insulation
Scratch resistance
Thermal insulation

Step 3: Buying a nano coating

Nano coatings for consumers are available across the US, though they are mostly hydrophobic or ceramic coatings for cars. The coatings are produced for specific substrates as well as specific purposes, such as hydrophobic nano coating for boots. Below are a few of the products available. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us!

ProductCost/CoverageCoating TypeSubstrate type
Rust-Oleum NeverWet Multi-Surface Kit$10-$20 for 20 square feet (14 oz)HydrophobicMetal, wood, concrete, aluminum, galvanized metal, masonry, asphalt, vinyl siding, fiberglass, canvas and most plastics.
Ultra Ever Dry Bottom Coat$60-$70 for 150 square feet (1 quart)Hydrophobic and oleophobicSteel, aluminum, other metals, plastic, leather, fabric, wood, concrete.
TerraShield Nano Ceramic Coating$80-$90 for 1 SUV or truck (50mL)Ceramic coatingPaint, glass, plastic, metals, chrome, exhausts, plexi glass, fiber glass, carbon fiber.
Hydrobead Standard Spray$15-$20 for 20 square feet (11 oz)HydrophobicMetal, wood, plastic, canvas, vinyl, concrete, rubber, fabric.

Industrial nano coating manufacturers and contractors

Many of the nano coating services available are strictly company-only application, in particular for antimicrobial and hydrophilic coatings. The benefit of having a trained professional apply your coating is clear; experienced and skilled application will give you the best and most effective coating results. Some of the nano coating manufacturers operating in the US are:

  • Harland Medical Systems – Antimicrobial and hydrophilic coatings
  • LiquiGlideSuperhydrophobic, permanently wet coatings
  • Nanovere Technologies – Nano-Clear, hydrophobic coatings
  • Aculon – A range of nano coatings, including hydrophilic
  • AK Coatings – Antimicrobial coatings
  • NANOKOTE – Hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings

Need more nano coating guidance? Our experts are here to help.

Use our 100% free quoting service and we can match your project to the best products and contractors for your needs. Let us connect you with the leaders in the industry.

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