What does coating mean?
In general coating refers to covering a a material (substrate) with another material (substance). A coating is generally used to confer a desired functionality to a substrate that fails to exhibit the function without modification. The usual purposes of coatings include making surfaces and objects:
- Resistant to corrosion and othe environmental hazards threathening the substarte
- Impervious to liquids oils and gasses (also repellent systems exist)
- Harder, tougher and also capable of carriying heavier mechanical loads
- Resistant to abrasion and wear
- Electrically or thermally insulating or conductive
- Aesthetically more appealing
Choosing the right product
The type of suitable coating and the method of deposition are dependent on a number of factors. Firstly, the substrate material plays a crucial role in choosing the right coating meaning that the product must be suitable for the substrate. Furthermore, the geometry of the substrate matters; due to the fact that not every coating flows well onto complex shapes. Naturally, also the function of the coating is important; it might for example have to resist chemicals or abrasion and be able to emit light. The function also has a link to the ideal thickness of the layer. Last but not least, the product should always be durable and support cost-efficiency.
Coatings are more than a protective layer
In the last few years coating have become more than just a protective layer. The introduction of nano coatings and nano technology has made innovating coatings based on this nano technology gaining more traction. This results in the introduction of coatings like hydrophobic and super-hydrophobic. Nano coatings are sometimes referred as nano sealing.
In the slipstream of the introduction of nano coatings the more advanced smart coatings were introduced, like solar window coatings and special coatings for healthcare.
What are smart coatings?
Smart coatings consist of programmable materials with a variety of physical, chemical, electrical and mechanical properties. The materials can respond to changes in light, pressure, chemical, heat and other stimuli. The coatings are categorised according to functional components, fabrication methods, their application and more. Typical smart coatings include:
- Self healing
- Self cleaning
- Microcapsule healing
- Anticorrosion coatings