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Antifouling Coating Aimed at Heat Exchangers

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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Scientists in Germany recently revealed a new coating that they say can help keep microbes at bay on heat exchangers, a development that could have implications in water treatment plants and elsewhere.

The goal of the research, at INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials, was to prevent biofilm growth on heat exchangers used in the processing of milk, juice and other liquid food materials. Heat exchangers are pieces of mechanical equipment that rapidly cool a liquid.

Dairy
© iStock.com / Cylonphoto

A team of scientists at INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials has developed what they say is a new antifouling coating specially suited to heat exchangers, including those used in food processing.

The team working on the project developed a coating using colloidal copper, which interacts with oxygen or water in the substance being cooled by the heat exchanger, creating copper ions. The copper ions then prevent microbes from establishing themselves on the surface.

The new coating also contains a hydrophobic compound that the scientists say is similar to PTFE (Teflon), to prevent adhesion of any biofilm to the surface.

Reduced Cleaning

The result, they say, is a surface that needs to be cleaned much less often than heat exchangers traditionally do.

“In addition, we can keep the paint chemically stable,” says Carsten Becker-Willinger, head of the Nanomers program at INM. “Otherwise it would not withstand the aggressive chemicals that are required for cleaning.”

The scientists say the coating can be spray-applied or applied via immersion, and can be used on stainless steel, alloys, titanium, and aluminum.

In the future, the team sees the coating being used on air conditioner heat exchangers, as well as on filters and tubes at water treatment plants and other applications.

   

Tagged categories: Antifoulants; Coating chemistry; Food Processing Plants; Industrial coatings; Research and development

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