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18. Nov 2020 | Coatings Technologies

Luminescent wood could light up homes of the future

Scientists study luminescent and hydrophobic wood films as optical lighting materials.

An experimental setup shows the described effect.

When exposed to UV light on the outside, a luminescent wood panel (right) lights up an indoor space (as seen through "windows;” red arrows), whereas a non-luminescent panel (left) does not. Image source: ACS Nano.

The right indoor lighting can help set the mood, from a soft romantic glow to bright, stimulating colors.  But some materials used for lighting, such as plastics, are not eco-friendly. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have developed a bio-based, luminescent, water-resistant wood film that could someday be used as cover panels for lamps, displays and laser devices.
Consumer demand for eco-friendly, renewable materials has driven researchers to investigate wood-based thin films for optical applications. However, many materials developed so far have drawbacks, such as poor mechanical properties, uneven lighting, a lack of water resistance or the need for a petroleum-based polymer matrix. Qiliang Fu, Ingo Burgert and colleagues wanted to develop a luminescent wood film that could overcome these limitations.

Orange light that spread evenly throughout the film’s surface

The researchers treated balsa wood with a solution to remove lignin and about half of the hemicelluloses, leaving behind a porous scaffold. The team then infused the delignified wood with a solution containing quantum dots –– semiconductor nanoparticles that glow in a particular color when struck by ultraviolet (UV) light. After compressing and drying, the researchers applied a hydrophobic coating. The result was a dense, water-resistant wood film with excellent mechanical properties. Under UV light, the quantum dots in the wood emitted and scattered an orange light that spread evenly throughout the film’s surface. The team demonstrated the ability of a luminescent panel to light up the interior of a toy house. Different types of quantum dots could be incorporated into the wood film to create various colors of lighting products, the researchers say.

The study has been published in ACS Nano 2020, 14, 10, 13775–13783, September 2020.

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Waterbased Acrylates for Decorative Coatings

Aqueous polyacrylates, as binders, dispersing resins and thickening polymers, are nowadays impossible to do without as raw materials in the paints and coatings industry. Since their introduction in the 1950s and 60s, straight acrylic and styrene acrylic dispersions have established themselves as environment-friendly, high-performace alternatives to the solvent-borne, air-drying alkyd resin binders used principally before. The particularly wide performance spectrum and high level of variability of the polyacrylates has enabled the propagation and consistent ongoing development of this product class as binders for coating materials. This book gives an overall view of the preparation and properties of aqueous acrylic dispersions and also the special features pertaining to their use in the architectural coatings sector. Following a general introduction to dispersions and emulsion paints manufacture at the beginning of the book, specialized chapters give a deeper insight into the diverse products such as primers, masonry paints, interior paints, plasters, wood coatings and gloss emulsion paints. The book presents an picture of the preparation of acrylic binders and the formulation of architectural paints. It is aimed both at students and newcomers to the paints and coatings field as well as at experienced dispersion users and practitioners in the paints and coatings industry.

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