Ultra-Thin Nanocoatings: Innovative Glass Surface Protection

ultra-thin nanocoatings

Glass has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the Roman times. Over the last decade, significant innovations in the laboratory have produced breakthroughs in nanotechnology coating for glass and glazed surfaces in the form of ultra-thin nanocoatings.

These ultra-thin nanocoatings are remaking our approach to materials science. Indeed, nanotechnology coating for glass is shaping up as the next major step change in how we coat glass surfaces, particularly in our built environment.

Is it really surprising then that these ultra-thin nanocoatings are being referred to as the next generation of industrial applications?


No More Than Surface Deep

Coatings in some shape or form have been used since the dawn of the industrial revolution to protect the surfaces of our mainstay materials. However, until the advent of nanotechnology, those coatings were prone to breaking down under the rigours of wear and tear and harsh environmental conditions. Thus, they required regular cycles of maintenance and renewal to remain effective. This is both expensive and time-consuming.

Now, application of ultra-thin nanocoatings to glass surfaces is making quite an impact on material engineering. Its scientific approach has created long-lasting and cost-effective coatings.  These coatings are emerging as the optimal top coating solution in a range of applications.


Commercial Benefits Of Ultra-Thin Nanocoatings

Amongst the main benefits of ultra-thin nanocoatings are its hydrophobic, easy-to-clean, oleophobic, wear-resistant, chemical-resistance, heat-resistant, anti-fouling, and UV-proof properties.


How Does It Work?

Ultra-thin nanocoatings completely fill in the microscopic pits and voids typically found in the material’s surface. The nanostructured material employs covalent bonding to enhance the natural beauty of glass while equipping it with a smart surface.

This advanced technology increases the value of the glass and produces great economic benefits for enterprises.  In turn, this creates a better and more diversified life for people.

Some glass coating technology is based on colloidal sol-gel materials. These are specially formulated solutions, which miraculously self-assemble into a monolayer surface structure.


Wet Chemical Nanotechnology

By using wet chemical technology, it is possible to use simple, comparatively low technology application methodologies such as “Spray and Wipe,” dip coating, or spray atomisers.

After curing the wet application, at which time the carrier liquid will evaporate, the nanocoating bonds to the surface and the coating self-assembles into the ultra-thin coating layer.

The thickness of the final coating layer is at the nanoscale rendering it completely invisible to the human eye. It is also possible to include greater scratch resistance and dust reducing properties to the nanocoating. In combination, this structure imbues the glass with an extremely durable hydrophobic capability.

Once fully applied, this completely invisible treatment cannot be removed by water, cleaning agent, or even with high-pressure cleaning equipment.


Benefits Of Wet Chemical Nanotechnology

The benefits of the wet application model include:

  • Easy application
  • Cost effective and fast to apply
  • Water and dirt repellent
  • Outstanding coverage rates
  • Scratch resistant
  • Hard coating is highly abrasion resistant
  • Inorganic UV resistant
  • Easy to clean and advanced self-cleaning properties


Glass Curtain Walls

With glass in widespread use commercially for large-scale wall structures, the cleaning cycle to remove dust and external grit and grime assumes greater economic importance.

Similarly, as glass surfaces are becoming larger and more expansive, the need to clean them regularly becomes a more significant problem due to cost,  time, labour, and occupational health and safety risks.

By applying an ultra-thin nanocoating, the glass curtain wall is covered by a thin film. This reduces the labour component of the cleaning process, thanks to its self-cleaning system and anti-static properties. Simple rainwater easily washes away much of the dirt on the glass due to its hydrophobic coating.


Bathroom Glass Surfaces

Glass surfaces in the bathroom face a hostile environment due to a combination of steam, dust, and particles suspended in the air. In the shower area,  dirt, soap scum, and bacteria readily adhere to untreated glass surfaces.  This poses not only a potential health hazard to its occupants but also imposes a cost and time penalty in cleaning the bathroom.

Treating your bathroom glass surfaces with a nano-coating reduces the ability of bacteria and fungi to adhere to the surface while making bathrooms up to 90% easier and faster to clean.


Automotive Glass Surfaces

A significant proportion of traffic accidents occur either in wet weather or due to dust and grime adhering to the windscreen and rearview mirrors, obscuring visibility.

Solving this seemingly simple problem has proven to be more complicated than expected. Now, by applying an ultra-thin nanocoating to your windscreen and windows, drivers can protect their automotive glass surfaces. Rainwater hits the treated surface and runs off the glass surface quickly, taking any road grit or grime with it. Similarly, in dusty conditions, the nanocoating’s self-cleaning properties reduce the build-up of dust on the surface, promoting enhanced visibility.


Photovoltaic Cell Surfaces

Suspended dust in the air is the natural enemy of photovoltaic cells. The efficiency of these cells is rapidly degraded as they become clogged with accumulated dust and grime as the amount of light captured drops as does the cell’s power output.

The combination of anti-static and hydrophobic features of ultra-thin nanocoatings reduces problems posed by dust on the glass surface, whilst enhancing the ability of wind and rain to dislodge dust particles.


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Final Word

Glass has been with us as a building and decorative material for thousands of years. Over the last decade, major innovations have produced a nanotechnology coating for glass and glazed surfaces in the form of ultra-thin nanocoatings. These new nanocoatings are remaking our approach to materials science and changing the nature of glass itself. Nanotechnology coating is also changing the economics of adapting glass for larger-scale structures by substantially reducing the labour input costs involved in glass cleaning while extending the intervals between current maintenance cycles for glass surfaces, particularly in our built environment.


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