While the coating technologies have reached certain maturity; new challenges have emerged. The industry is being impacted by three major factors of global economics, sustainability and the need for high quality/multi-functional materials. To thrive amid ever-fiercer global competition and to respond to high tech application needs suppliers must focus on innovation and one of its key enablers, Emerging Technologies. With increased demands for polymers and coatings that can sense their environment and be responsive, perform multifunctional tasks and at the same time be produced economically and safely has emerged a new class of materials. This millennium will see rapid advances in these types of “state-of-the-art,” chemicals which are often referred to as Smart Materials and Multi-functional Coating.
While the list of Emerging Technology coatings is exhaustive, those with high commercial viability and name recognition include biologically active, easy/self-cleaning coatings, stimuli responsive, conductive, antimicrobial, antifouling, self-healing, sensory, photo-catalytic, super hydrophobic, bio-decontamination, detection, color shifting and Nano-engineered coatings. Broadly speaking Emerging Technology coatings share many of the compositional concepts and formulation guidelines of the ordinary coatings. Recent advances in materials science provide the background science and necessary tools for developing new raw materials and coatings with novel properties.
Among Emerging Technology products antimicrobial and hydrophobic/(superhydrophobic) self-clean and easy clean coatings are routinely used in product manufacturing including household, automotive, healthcare, consumer products, hospitality, communication etc. Certain automotive topcoats, mobile communication devices use hydrophobic coatings that reduce or eliminate water permeation.
The technology of Superhydrophobic coatings is publicly available and the coatings can conveniently be made by the use of commercially available raw materials such as antimicrobial polymers and additives. Antimicrobial coatings are conveniently made by the use of commercially available pigments, additives and polymers.
Emerging Technologies also includes sustainable coatings. The coatings industry began sustainable solutions in early 1980’s even before the sustainability of materials and processing became part of corporate strategies of some companies. The advent of water-based architectural and industrial coatings, gradual use of bio materials and vigorous drive for reducing volatile organic compounds, were part of this movement without “sustainability” label.
It is important to consider the cost of sustainable materials over its life time as opposed to its price at the point of purchase. Combining economy and sustainability has been a challenge. For sustainability to come at no added cost the only compromise we make is to think and act differently.
Emerging technologies and new updates of established coating technologies will be presented in the upcoming CHINACOAT2017 Conference, to be held November 14-15 2017 at Shanghai, P.R. China. If you wish to know more about CHINACOAT and our CHINACOAT Conference, please visit www.chinacoat.net and www.chinacoatcongress.net.