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 coating is useful in almost any sector: it can be used to provide a protective sealing coat for car paint and also to makes the windows of a skyscraper self-cleaning. In this article we will take a look at the many possibilities liquid nano coatings offer.
To provide you with an idea of whether nano coating is what your project needs, we’ll give you 5 examples of benefits the coating can provide. Nano coating:
- Increases safety: Dangerous fungi and bacteria cannot attach to the surface.
- Slows down deterioration: Durable protection for sensitive and porous surfaces such as concrete bridges and monuments.
- Decreases cleaning costs: Grease and dirt slides off windows and solar panels. Cleaning becomes safe and cost efficient.
- Protects from vandalism: Becomes an effective anti graffiti or anti urine layer.
- Prevents short-circuits: Ideal for electronic uses and electrical systems.
Nano coating does not form a layer on the substrate like traditional coatings, but rather it becomes one with the substrate instead. Due to this, liquids can no longer penetrate the surface, and dirt, grease and fungi cannot adhere – it is a hydrophobic coating that becomes part of the surface it protects.
Determine the right nano coating for your project in 3 steps
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 expect from the coating
Before you can choose a coating, you need to know what you expect 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:
Hydrophobic/oleophobic – Hydrophobic and oleophobic mean “water-fearing” and “oil-fearing” respectively. A hydrophobic coating 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Glass/ceramic – Based on silicon dioxide, this coating is used for its scratch resistance, hardness, heat resistance, electrical insulation, and weather resistance. Ceramic coatings also act as a hydrophobic coating. 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.
|Property||Titanium Dioxide||Silicon Dioxide||Silver|
Even though nano coatings are suitable for almost any substrate, not every coating adheres to all substrates. The optimal adherence is created by adding ingredients that support adhering to the wished material such as smooth metal or porous concrete. Therefore, the products are also often named according to the substrate they are suitable for: for example Nano Concrete, Nano Plastic and so on.
Example: Mavro International offers a strong Nitoguard Plastic, which protects smooth plastic surfaces and makes the chemical resistant. Nitoguard Stone, for its part is developed for porous stone-like materials, and it works as a sealer on concrete, stone and minerals.
Step 3: Buying a nano coating
Nano coatings for consumers are available across the US, mostly as hydrophobic coating 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!
|Product||Cost/Coverage||Coating Type||Substrate type|
|Rust-Oleum NeverWet Multi-Surface Kit||$10-$20 for 20 square feet (14 oz)||Hydrophobic||Metal, 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 oleophobic||Steel, aluminum, other metals, plastic, leather, fabric, wood, concrete.|
|TerraShield Nano Ceramic Coating||$80-$90 for 1 SUV or truck (50mL)||Ceramic coating||Paint, glass, plastic, metals, chrome, exhausts, plexi glass, fiber glass, carbon fiber.|
|Hydrobead Standard Spray||$15-$20 for 20 square feet (11 oz)||Hydrophobic||Metal, wood, plastic, canvas, vinyl, concrete, rubber, fabric.|
5 things to keep in mind before applying nano coating
Even though nano coatings are known for their many benefits, they also have a less beneficial side: keep in mind that nano coatings are not always the right solution. You should consider at least the following 5 things before deciding to go for nano coatings.
- Contamination: the coatings are not suitable for old, contaminated substrates. The substrate must be absolutely clean.
- Type of substrate: every substrate requires a different nano coating.
- Limited durability: nano coatings are not for ever. Some products may deteriorate very fast and need another layer shortly after the first is applied.
- Easy to clean: nano coating are however not resistant to harsh cleaning chemicals and microfibre cloths.
- Product names: the names manufacturers give their products may be confusing; anti graffiti and glass coating are most often names of nanocoatings.
Have you come to the conclusion that nano coating is not the right coating for your project? We know all the alternatives. We are happy to help answer any questions you might have about (nano) coatings. Additionally, we have an extensive network of coating experts whose expertise is at your disposal. Do not hesitate to contact us for tailored advice.
Find a professional contractor specialized in nano coating application
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
- LiquiGlide – Superhydrophobic, 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
Let’s say you are curious about using nano coatings in car manufacture. Or you wish to protect electronic devices from short-circuits. Or maybe something completely else. We at CoatingPaint.com are happy to offer our services to help you find the right nano coating. In cooperation with our coating partners, we can also draw up a competitive proposal for applying nano coatings.