Nanocoatings have been surging in popularity due to a timeless truth: smaller is better.

And in this case, “small” is on a molecular scale, starting at a thickness of just one nanometer. These thin-film molecular coatings make it possible to do some incredible things. But what are they, and why are they so useful?

What are nanocoatings?

Nanocoatings are ultra-thin layers or chemical structures that are built upon surfaces by a variety of methods. Some nanocoatings are polymers, either polymerized in-situ or prior to application.

Technically, a nanocoating is a coating that’s measured on the nanoscale. Another industry definition is a coating that is no more than 1–100 nanometers thick, or 0.0000000394–0.000000394 of an inch.

(To compare, the typical automotive paint is approximately 0.005 of an inch thick. That’s approximately 125 microns or 125,000 nanometers.) At this size, quantum physics come into play.

Nanocoatings can be structures one molecule thick, or they can be built up from multiple molecular layers. There are even hybrid nanocoatings, such as NanoSlic, which combine multiple layers of nanocoatings to deliver a wide range of benefits.


Why work with nanocoatings?

Typically, nanocoatings are used to impart a particular chemical or physical function to a surface. For example, they may impart hydrophobic and oleophobic properties to improve corrosion resistance, or they might enhance insulative or conductive properties.

Different nanocoatings can impart a wide variety of benefits, including self-cleaning properties, as well as resistance to water, static, oil, sweat, scratches, bacteria, corrosion, fungus, friction, UV rays, and more. Combining different nanocoatings makes it possible to add multiple properties to the same surface.

Nanocoatings emit much lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than traditional polymer coatings, which has been driving increased demand. They’re particularly useful in contexts where there are strict VOC limits.

Because nanocoatings are so thin, they’re also transparent to the naked eye. That’s a huge boon to products where aesthetics come into play. They can even be used to extend the life of a product’s color or gloss.

Image: Nanotech Mag
Image: Nanotech Mag

Nanocoatings can be applied to a wide variety of substrates and bond chemically with non-porous surfaces. For example, they work with metals, ceramics, plastics, and polymers. They can even be applied to other nanocoatings!

They may not be ideal for all applications. At 1–100 micron thickness, nanocoatings do not alter the topography of a surface. In other words, they don’t fill in defects and smooth out the surface, like a paint would.

In addition, such a thin coating may not stand up to abrasion and wear. In many instances, these attributes are desirable, but in some instances, a thicker film is useful.

The bottom line? Nanocoatings imbue surfaces with special powers – all without seeming to change the object.

How are nanocoatings used?

Nanocoatings are used across virtually all industries and fields. That includes electronics, medical equipment, industrial manufacturing, and aerospace.

They can do everything from preventing fingerprints from forming on automotive surfaces to preventing harmful bacteria from growing in medical settings to helping clothing repel moisture.

Because they’re transparent, nanocoatings useful in applications where opacity would be a problem. For example, certain nanocoatings can make windows resistant to heat and UV rays. The window stays clear but gains the additional properties.

Today, researchers are using nanocoatings to solve many common problems and challenges. From pharmaceuticals to paints, they’re appearing in a huge variety of applications. There are even nanocoated tennis balls, made by Wilson, that bounce longer than traditional tennis balls!

Image: SMTnet
Image: SMTnet

How can nanocoatings help my process?

Historically, application of nanocoatings has required specialized equipment, complex procedures, and extreme heat. They are often applied with techniques such as chemical vapor deposition or plasma spray.

But now, new developments in chemistry and coating technology making nanocoatings a much more accessible technique.

Consumers are now starting to see nanocoating products that can be easily applied by conventional means. They’re useful for a wide range of applications, from commercial to industrial, including:

  • Automotive
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Marine
  • Medical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Telecommunications

What is NanoSlic nanocoating technology?

NanoSlic offers a variety of hybrid nanocoating products. Our products form a dense network of strong chemical bonds on the substrate; an inert, high-performance binder polymer layer; and a hydrophobic, oleophobic contact surface. They make cleaning easier, lengthen the life of products, and protect their surfaces. NanoSlic spray is easy to apply: just clean the surface, then spray.

Ready to learn more?