When attempting to improve something, it is essential to have a comprehensive awareness of its current innerworkings. In reference to coatings, it is crucial to understand their behaviour: how they react to the surfaces they are used on and how those surfaces, in turn, respond to them. This understanding is the only way to achieve solid and reliable conclusions as to what can be improved upon. With the global chemical industry growing exponentially, there is more access to technology and innovation than there ever has been. This means not only that there are limitless opportunities for evolution and growth, but also that investment into research and development within chemical formulation and surface engineering is ascending; and silica nanoparticles are rapidly being brought to the forefront of such research.
The focal point of chemical formulation is combining substances which do not chemically react when exclusively blended, but create particular reactions upon application to something. Some examples of products which have been developed using chemical formulation are sunscreen, adhesives, deodorants, herbicides, nail polish, etc. Surface engineering, however, focuses on manipulating the surface properties of metallic and non-metallic materials in order to modify their functionality. Examples of this include galvanising steel for building frames, balconies, etc., or vitreous enamel (metallic glass enamelling) for hobs, bathtubs and such like.
Paints, Inks and Dyes
Dyes can be derived naturally or synthetically and can be used for a multitude of applications. One of the most exciting reactive dyes to come into demand in recent years is Thermochromic dye. Thermochromic dyes react to heat, which means that the smart formula allows the object in question to change colour depending on its heat exposure.
Inks also have a plethora of uses and their formulaic makeup is adjusted depending on the desired application and purpose. For example, the ink required for newspaper prints is a thick, black, fairly low-cost ink due to less quality demand. Glossy magazines, however, call for higher-calibre coloured inks to reflect the colour diversity and detail in the images on the pages. Regardless of the ink’s applications, the performance and flow is always dictated by its electrostatic properties.
Much like dyes and inks, paint formulations can be modified in order to reap the desired effect depending on the application it is being used for. For example, paint viscosity can be altered by manipulating polymer levels. This also changes the degree to which the surface and the paint will bind. Other characteristics of the paint, such as durability and staying-power can be modified by altering the levels of various other additives or ingredients. The only problem with this, though, is that improving the quality and endurance of such products tends to come at a price. Enter; silica nanoparticles. Where previously used additives came at a cost, it has been found that silica nanoparticles are a lower-cost alternative to increase durability and can help defend against heat, acid, chemicals, corrosion, scratches wear and UV. This means that the integrity and endurance of the materials can be maintained, without breaking the bank – all thanks to silica nanoparticles.