Nanopaint – “It looks the same but has fantastic properties”

Have you heard about coating materials that are durable, abrasion-resistant, waterproof and harmless? These are terms that you read on almost every can of paint. But have you also heard about paint that can effectively eliminate harmful substances and bacteria? No? Allow us to tell you about it.

The university team has developed special powdered materials that have a range of fineness comparable to that of flour to coarse-grain kitchen salt. Their prime ingredient is a clay material, most commonly kaolinite, which is a readily available material used for making ceramics. Particles of these clays have the shape of discs, which you can imagine as metal coins, and nanoparticles of the secondary ingredient – metal oxides such as TiO2 or ZnO – are bound to their surface. When the surface of these composites is exposed to light, very reactive particles are created which function as traps for harmful substances and bacteria in the air and water. This is very beneficial for both the construction industry as well as for the environment.

They mix these powdered materials into paint, whose properties they can thus change literally at the molecular level. Thanks to the reactive capabilities of the nanoparticles, such coating materials have the parameters of the highest-quality paint and are finding ever broader applications.
Uses for nanocomposites can be found in numerous industrial sectors, for example in the construction industry as an additive in self-cleaning construction and coating materials, as an additive in plastics and as a medium for cleaning wastewater and gases. A typical example is usage in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, where strict rules for cleanliness and hygiene are in force. The nanoworld offers seemingly invisible improvements, but with enormous potential to enrich our “big” world.

Nanotechnology Centre, VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava