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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Trend monitor coatings technology: something new?

Thursday, 29 June 2017 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal

A woman who works for a journal in a different line of business called me up the other day wanting to know what the latest trends in the paint industry were. As I was talking to her, I realised that technology trends in the paint and coatings industry tend to be long-lived. We know from many surveys conducted at various major conferences that low-VOC, water-borne paint systems and multi-functional coatings are still trending, but what about digitisation, sustainability and graphene? Are these new trends?

Digitisation and the 4th industrial revolution are two so-called mega-trends happening around the globe. Some coatings manufacturers have already dipped their toes into digitisation, but others are holding back. Our editors donned their coatings goggles for a look around the latest Hanover Fair, the largest industrial fair in the world, and came up with one or two discoveries.

Sustainability is crucial!

No doubt about it, sustainability is a deal-breaker. At the last ECS Conference, a survey of attendees showed that over 80% believed sustainability to be absolutely essential. End users want it and the paint industry is delivering. Bio-based raw materials are playing an increasingly important role in this regard in my opinion. But they are just one of the key components.

Another is functional surfaces – still a major focus of research in the paint and coatings industry. I recently came across a project by Netherlands-based TNO. There, Daniel Turkenburg and his colleagues have developed bio-based self-healing coatings. Turkenburg will report on this at the European Coatings Future Dialogue, which will be held in Berlin on 21 and 22 November.

Graphene, the new cure-all?

For some time now, a growing amount of research work has been directed at graphene coatings. At the above-mentioned EC Future Dialogue, Prof. Robert Akid, University of Manchester, UK, will report on "Multilayer hybrid graphene-polymer coatings for long term corrosion protection”.

Elsewhere, an article on the American Coatings Association’s website explores the "exciting properties and wide-ranging potential” of graphene coatings. The first graphene coatings are now on the market, but the numbers are still small. I think we need to wait and see just how durable their properties are.

Current examples for graphene-coatings:

Reinforcing the corrosion protection properties of epoxy coatings

Novel hydrophobic nanocomposites for natural gas pipelines coatings

A good overview of current research activities in the field of graphene coatings can be found on this website: www.graphene-info.com/graphene-paints

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Author

Sonja Schulte
European Coatings Journal
Sonja Schulte
Editor-in-Chief, Science & Technology
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