Institute Develops Alternative to PFAS-Based Coatings

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2024


The Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) in Greifswald, Germany, has reportedly created a new method for the production of ultra-hydrophobic organosilicon polymer coatings to offer an alternative to per- and polyfluorinated compounds.

According to the institute, PFAS compounds have been used for decades to enhance a wide range of products. They are extremely water-repellent and have a number of other advantages, such as good non-stick properties and high chemical resistance.

However, due to their high stability, PFAS compounds can accumulate in the environment and in living organisms, which is why they are also known as “forever chemicals.”

INP notes that all PFAS compounds are expected to be included in the global ban list of the Stockholm Convention by 2025 at the latest.

The organosilicon polymer coating developed by INP is reportedly based on plasma technology. It is mechanically and chemically stable, the institute explains, up to 200 nm thick and opaque, storable, washable and reproducible.

The coatings can also be applied to many materials, including metals, plastics and semiconductors.

INP says that it is currently working on transferring the low-pressure process for depositing the organosilicon polymer layer to a normal pressure process. Concepts for scaling up the technology are also reportedly being developed.

“We are very pleased with the results of our research,” said Dr. Frank Hempel, Head of the Plasma Surface Technology Department at INP. “The organosilicon polymer layer is a promising alternative to PFAS-containing layers and offers a wide range of possibilities for applications in various industrial sectors.”

Other PFAS Alternative Research

In August last year, researchers from the University of Sydney reportedly observed nano-thick “liquid-like coatings” with the potential for designing sustainable, self-cleaning materials.

According to the university’s release, the coatings the team studied are known as slippery covalently-attached liquid surfaces, or SCALS, which are produced from silicones or polyethylene glycol. Both of these materials can be broken down into harmless byproducts in the environment.

SCALS are reportedly anti-adhesive without relying on perfluorinated polymers (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” The nano-thin layers, the team explained, are two and five billionths of a meter thick or 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and are made up of oil molecules that are only a hundred atoms long.

Then, in October, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM reportedly designed a coatings technology that could replace per- and polyfluorinated chemicals in everyday products.

According to Fraunhofer IFAM, their plasma coatings are fluorine-free and free of other additives. They are reportedly suitable for application on enamel, glass, stoneware and porcelain. Additionally, because of its properties, some of the coatings can be used as non-stick coatings, sliding coatings and hydrophobic finishes.

The coating is reportedly produced through plasma technology, which is designed as a gradient layer to enable adhesion to the product body and be non-stick. The coating is also reportedly easy to clean, as well as resistant to cutting and abrasion.

Both alternatives arrived as global nonprofit organization Green Seal announced its plans to exclude “forever chemicals” from any of its certified paints and coatings, as well as various other materials, at the end of September.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Coating Materials - Commercial; Coatings; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmentally friendly; Green coatings; Health and safety; hydrophobic coatings; Latin America; North America; Polymers; Research and development; Z-Continents

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