PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

Sherwin-Williams


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Coating a Smarter, Faster Surface

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Comment | More

Smart surfaces that can instantaneously change properties in response to their environment could be the wave of the future, with a new coating developed by a multinational team of researchers.

The new type of polymer coating can change its surface properties in less than a second, say the scientists from Lebanon, Russia and Germany.

The development could lead to "smart surfaces" that could very quickly change their properties based on environmental changes, like shifts in temperature, pH level or light. Current polymers take minutes to hours to change, the team said.

The super-fast switch could have a variety of uses, such as tiny temperature sensors or medical assays with cells that can quickly release from the surface on which they grow, according to the researchers.

polymer chains
S. Qi / University of Mainz via physics.aps.org

A computer simulation shows how the new polymer brush's minorty strands (in red) crouch down at lower temperatures (left) and stand up at higher temperatures (right).

The researchers are from the American University of Beruit, the St. Petersburg State Chemical-Pharmaceutical Academy in Russia, the Institute of Macromolecular Compounds of Russian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Mainz in Germany.

Their research, "Sharp and Fast: Sensors and Switches Based on Polymer Brushes with Adsorption-Active Minority Chains," was published Aug. 8 in Physical Review Letters, a journal from the American Physical Society.

How it Usually Works

Polymer molecules are often used to form chains that can be attached at one end to a solid surface, creating something that looks like bristles on a hairbrush. These brushes allow researchers to control surface properties like friction and water interactions.

For the past several years, researchers have started making the brushes act like switches that allow a surface to change how it interacts with its surroundings based on environmental changes.

For example, a polymer brush could switch from being hydrophobic to hydrophilic.

To do so, the brush would have equal numbers of hydrophobic and hydrophilic polymers. A water-based solvent would cause the hydrophilic chains to stretch out and the hydrophobic chains to curl up, so the surface would act hydrophilic. If the solvent is switched to hydrophobic, the two kinds of chains would swap roles.

Polymer brush
Wikimedia Commons / Vbelyi

Usually, a polymer brush has the same number of polymers for each function it performs. However, these chains get tangled up when switching properties and can take a long time to straighten out.

Currently, however, this kind of switch can take minutes or hours, because the similar polymers get twisted up with one another and need time to untangle, explained Friederike Schmid of the University of Mainz.

A New Kind of Response

Schmid and her colleagues say their polymer system switches properties in response to temperature change—a process that could be implemented for response to other environmental changes.

The researchers developed a brush that uses almost all the same type of polymer to determine the default properties. A few different chains are mixed in and are at least 10 percent longer than the majority chains. These chains "crouch down" on the surface below a critical temperature, but "stand up" at higher temperatures.

A temperature increase of about 10 degrees or less can change the position of the minority chains in a few milliseconds, the team found.

According to Schmid, this is because the minority chains are isolated from each other and act independently, so there is no wait time while the polymers untangle. Since the minority chains are longer, there is no wait time for them to come apart.

But Schmid also noted that the minority chains can't change the surface properties very much without some kind of amplification. Therefore, other molecules can be attached to the end of the minority chains for enhancement.

   

Tagged categories: Coating properties; Colleges and Universities; Polymers; Research

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
 
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC
 
A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.
 

 
Jotun Paints Inc.
 
Jotun Jotachar 1709
 
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.
 

 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Quality
 
The ALPHA1 provides a consistent finish day-in
day-out; job to job.
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Portable Dust Collectors for Tough Environments
 
Trailer and skid-mounted models in numerous sizes, powered by electric and/or diesel. Sloped roofs, multiple dust inlets, high static, dampered fans. Lockable power & drive compartments.
 

 
Carboline Company
 
Carboline launches new website!
 
The completely revamped website, offers quick and easy access to essential product information and is now mobile-friendly.
 

 
HoldTight Solutions Inc.
 
NO FLASH RUST - NO CONTAMINANTS
 
Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust
preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. Contact us
for your nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802 sales@holdtight.com
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
Fischer Technology Inc.
 
Maximize Profits by Monitoring Coating Thickness
 
Learn more by contacting Fischer Technology today: 1.860.683.0781
 

 
KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
 
KTA-TATOR LABORATORY SERVICES
 
• Coating failure analysis
• Independent testing
• Accelerated weathering testing
• Abrasives Testing
• Oil & Gas Material Qualification
• A2LA Certificate #2455.01
Contact: Rob Leggat
at 412-788-1300 x176
 

 
NLB Corporation
 
NLB Sure Shroud: Greater Protection and Flexibility
 
NLB’s Sure Shroud’s lighter weight and flexibility reduces operator fatigue and offers unmatched protection against high pressure hose ruptures. 10k to 40k psi rated.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us