Customize Structure of Coatings and Films with Nanotechnology - dummies

Customize Structure of Coatings and Films with Nanotechnology

By Earl Boysen, Nancy C. Muir, Desiree Dudley, Christine Peterson

Using nanotechnology techniques and processes, nanoparticles can be created and incorporated into coatings and films to come up with new or improved products.

Nanoparticles can be included with bulk materials, such as paint, to improve a particular property, for example, making the paint more impervious to ultraviolet rays. The nanoparticle material would be in the form of a powder that is mixed with the paint, just as pigments are added to modify the paint color.

Nanoparticles can also be used to entirely form a film. For example, a nanoparticle that has been functionalized by adding a hydrophobic molecule can be used to create a waterproof film. When you spray a liquid containing the nanoparticles on a surface, the nanoparticles bond to the surface and the hydrophobic molecule points away from the surface to repel water.

The capability to incorporate nanoparticles into coatings and films has several possible applications, including the following:

  • Walls and other surfaces can be painted with a film containing various types of nanoparticles that kill bacteria. This application can be useful in buildings such as hospitals and doctors’ offices.

  • A spray paint for cars is being developed that will turn your car into a solar cell.

  • A coating made with aluminum oxide nanoparticles has been shown to dramatically improve the resistance of ship propeller shafts to corrosion.

  • A coating on the inside of tennis balls reduces loss of air and improves their bounce.

  • One coating uses nanoparticles that attach to the surface of porous material, such as stone, giving it waterproof properties.

  • Integrated circuits use films that are only a few nm thick but have sufficient integrity to prevent electrons from leaking through them. These films are formed by depositing atoms rather than nanoparticles and must be formed with very uniform thickness and composition even though they are only a few nm thick.