The paint industry is always looking to the future in a bid to enhance the lives of consumers. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, paint technologies have improved rapidly with innovations such as Smart Coatings, Piezoelectric Paints and Photocatalysts. Manufacturers have needed to take into account changing climate conditions as well as the practical needs of consumers. Below, we look at some of the ‘smart paint technologies of the future’.
Glow In the Dark Paint
A civil engineering worker and an artist in Holland have teamed together to create a ‘smart highway’ innovation. Their project is called ‘Route 66 of the future’ and involves new developments such as road markings created with glow in the dark paint. The paint contains a ‘photo-luminizing’ powder that charges up during the day and releases a green glow at night.
The dynamic duo has also developed a temperature-sensitive paint mixture which will help create huge warning signs on roads; signs that will be shaped like snowflakes! The idea is that when sections of the road become icy, these patterns would glow in the dark to warn motorists of the potentially treacherous road.
One issue with coatings in the past is their inability to cope with changing weather conditions. In the modern era, ‘smart’ coatings have the ability to sense a change in conditions and adapt accordingly. Such an innovation has the potential to reduce costs, the need for maintenance, and the necessity of dangerous repainting jobs.
It is possible to detect temperature changes, corrosion, stress, microbes and a host of other possible issues. These smart coatings have a wide range of uses including bio-weapon detection (and destruction), electronics, textiles, medicine and corrosion control.
- Piezoelectric Paints – Imagine being able to measure the shock and vibration damage caused on pipelines, bridges and off-shore platforms. Thanks to piezoelectric paints, this is now possible as it provides a form of ‘health monitoring’ for large structures.
- Thermochromic Pigments – Coatings are being developed with these pigments and can be used as reversible indicators in food packaging and temperature indicators in safety devices.
- Self-Stratification – This is a brand new technique that prepares coatings made up of various tethered resin types, all of which have unique properties. If the right process conditions are met, the coating structure can be organized to ensure each resin type’s functionality is maximized.
- Ultrahydrophobic Coatings – This has the potential to be used as a water repellent and can be used in stain resistant clothing, corrosion inhibitors and other items.
The paint and coatings industry has a vast scope for change as has been seen in the recent past. The above innovations really only represent a fraction of what the industry will produce in the next 10 years. Suppliers and manufacturers are working to bring these new developments into the public sphere to improve performance and of course profit from their endeavor. It is also worth noting that such organizations continue to work towards reducing the environmental impact of their products.