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06. October 2015 18:38

Do we need to protect us from nano particles or do they protect us?

Nano coatings refute existing prejudices


Lotuseffekt auf textiler OberflächeNano coatings promise miracles and indeed their impregnation is very effective. After application no dampness penetrates into the rain clothing for months and shoes are well protected against wetness. Windows and car paint are dirt repellent, cleaning is far easier and if we believe in advertising, nano coatings will be on every surface in the future.

What about health risks?

The terms “nano technology“and “health“seem to mutually exclude each other according to the general opinion of many people. At lot of information was published by the press, reporting that nano particles get into the human organism through the skin or lungs causing incomprehensible damage. Nano coatings that have a dirt and water repellent effect on surfaces, are under general suspicion for years.

Invisible attack from the air?

The fear of nano particles underlies the idea that a multitude of single nano particles in the air penetrate into the body through the skin or lung. However, due to the high, specific surface, nano particles tend to agglomerate rapidly. Therefore a single nano particle is rarely found. The term nanoparticle applies to objects which have a nano-scale size in three dimensions. Nanoparticles are slightly bigger than atoms but smaller than a bacterium.

How nano coatings work

Nanopartikel formieren sich auf der OberflächeThe attempt is made avoiding agglomeration with the help of dispersants in nano sprays. Nano coatings are sprayed on the clean surface. The dispersions evaporate during drying process, the nano particles remain on the surface. Once they are on the surface, nano particles do that what they also do in the air: They agglomerate and stick to the substrate (fabric, glass, concrete). Linked closely together, nano particles reduce the specific surface. Dirt and water only lies loosely on top of the nano particles. This is recognizable on the water droplets, called lotus effect.

The effect of nano coatings

Water repellent surfaces have a great benefit, if we want to prevent that a surface gets wet. Nano coatings for fabrics and wood become more and more popular because the effect and durability goes way beyond previous impregnations.

Due to the fact that no heavy barrier is applied, the breathability remains intact. This prevents waterlogging. If water cannot penetrate, moss and algae cannot grow. Walls, plaster and concrete retain their colour, turning greyish much slower. Graffiti artists don’t feel like spraying anymore when colours run down. Public locations, rail way stations, trains and buses stay protected which saves a lot of money

Further developments

Nano coatings are available since 2004. After critical press reports, manufacturers have proved by means of certificates and tests that they have partly been unjustly condemned. One of the pioneers is nanotol sealant of the company CeNano.

Netzstruktur der NanopolymereNanotol works with a net structure made of nano polymers. Water, fat and oil repellent nano particles are attached to the nodes of the net. The net structures provide a universal application on different kinds of surfaces, thus enables a better price-performance ratio.

Thanks to the polymer structure, the TÜV has certified that nanotol is harmless because nanotol does not contain any single nano particles. It was proven that nanotol does not emit any nano material. This means it presents no risk for human and environment. Only water is used as dispersing agent. Every window cleaner from the supermarket is more dangerous. Furthermore, nanotol is biodegradable according to the latest OECD regulations. Should particles enter the groundwater, they are decomposed in small and simple basic elements. At the end only carbon dioxide (C02), water (h20), mineral salts and biomass is left.

Now nano particles protect us!

New developments in nano coatings support the appeal to save on tensides since only water is required to clean a coated surface. Conventional cleaning agents lagging far behind in development, because they have not changed their basic strategy for decades, damaging the environment with million tons of tensides. Nano coatings like nanotol refute the criticism of health and environmental risks and can face the future. Nano coatings will relieve our life. Recent developments have shown, that the initial difficulties have been overcome and that both human and nature benefit from nano coatings.
What does the future hold? Is the prediction correct, that in the future nano coatings will be applied on many surfaces ex-factory to protect the surface?

It would be desirable for human and nature!