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Protection Beyond 50 Shades of Gray

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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Like Henry Ford's black Model Ts, protective coatings users could always have any color they wanted, as long as it was battleship gray.

But that may be about to change—and not just for reasons of pizzazz.


Germany's Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) is developing colorful new ways to protect infrastructure and other structures.

New colorful protective coatings being developed in Germany could open up new functional opportunities to "deliver visual information via their coloration," explains physicist Peter William de Oliveira, who is heading the research at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) in Saarbrücken.

Red Warnings

Red, for example, could be "used as a warning color on surfaces which can get very hot," the internationally known materials research center said in an announcement.

Red-coated surfaces of ovens, chimneys and automotive parts "would not only be protected from corrosion, wear and oxidation but at the same time also be distinctive to the consumer by virtue of their color."

Chemical compounds were not suitable for such colors and applications before, says INM. But its team is now creating a protective coating in a "full red shade" without any brown accents from ceramic particles that use red pigments without iron oxide.

“Organic compounds do make for very nice reds—but they are unsuitable for such protective coatings, since organics do not survive high temperatures,” says de Oliveira.


Colored pigments may not only jazz up infrastructure, but allow new functional coatings.

On the other hand, he adds, “Iron oxides do withstand high temperatures when used as coloring particles for reds, but do not give full reds.”

Paint It Black ... and Blue and Green

The team says black coatings two to five micrometers thick can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius (1,652 degrees Fahrenheit), while "reddish-brown" coatings can take heat up to 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees Fahrenheit).

The INM researchers are also developing blue and green protective coatings as glass-ceramic layers on metals and glass. The pigments "are incorporated in sol-gel nanocomposites and applied by dipping or spraying," INM reports.

INM will be exhibiting its work April 13 to 17 at Hannover Fair.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Color + Design; Colorants; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Heat-resistive coatings; Protective Coatings; Research; Specialty functions

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