Ensuring the safety of nano-particles in paints and coatings

Nov 07, 2013
Ensuring the safety of nano-particles in paints and coatings
Credit: Shutterstock

There has been an explosion in the number of nano-based products in recent years. Research in this field has attracted a great deal of scientific interest, due in part to the wide variety of potential applications in the biomedical, electronic and coating fields.

This is a development that presents both opportunities and challenges. While the manipulation of materials and particles at the atomic and molecular scale has opened the door to potential new innovations, it has also raised some serious health and safety concerns.

One such concern is over the health effects of breathable nanoparticles, which can be found in a number of end products such as paints. There are also fears that the discharge of some of these nanoparticles into rivers and streams could be damaging the gill membrane of fish and crustaceans.

The EU-funded NANOFLOC (Electro- and separation of Engineered NanoParticles from process and waste water in the coating industry to minimise health and environmental risks) project was established in January 2013 to address this very concern. It aims to develop a system capable of removing nanoparticles in an efficient and cost-effective manner, in order to prevent pollution and encourage the further development of innovative and safe nano-based products.

The NANOFLOC innovation is based on novel electro agglomeration, which the team believes can effectively remove suspended solids to sub-micrometre levels. The system works by destabilising nano suspensions and agglomerations of charged particles in solutions using electric fields, thus avoiding the need for chemicals.

The technology is cost effective, compact and environmentally friendly. An innovative reactor for the agglomeration and stabilisation of these agglomerations - or flocs - will be built, along with a and an intelligent process control system (PCU).

The project, which will receive EUR 1 141 968 in EU funding through the FP7 'Research for the benefit of SMEs' scheme, could prove highly environmentally - and economically - significant. Currently, the only effective means of removing nanoparticles from water is through the application of energy intensive methods such as reverse osmosis, a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane.

Industries that extensively use nanoparticles - such as the paint and coating sector - stand to considerably benefit from a cost effective technology for removing from used water. The use of nanotechnology in this sector is expected to grow exponentially: by 2016, vehicle manufacturers will be required by law to use anti-scratch paints and coats on their vehicles.

Project results so far have shown promise with regards to electro coagulation technology in paint. A recent project meeting in Stuttgart looked at titanium dioxide and aluminium flakes, and also viewed a potential electro-coagulation reaction chamber.

Explore further: Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay

More information: www.nanofloc.org/

Related Stories

First with new environmentally beneficial technologies

Aug 30, 2013

Lulea University of Technology is the first in Sweden with a new technology that scales up production of nano-cellulose from wood residues. It may eventually give the forest industry profitable new products, ...

A fresh solution for the lindane problem

Oct 22, 2013

For many years two companies located in Bizkaia, Bilbao Chemicals (Barakaldo 1947-1987) and Nexana (Erandio 1952-1982), had been manufacturing lindane and dumping it into the environment with no control whatsoever. ...

Recommended for you

Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay

9 hours ago

Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they can take effect. But a team of researchers has developed a way ...

Combining magnetism and light to fight cancer

14 hours ago

By combining, in a liposome, magnetic nanoparticles and photosensitizers that are simultaneously and remotely activated by external physical stimuli (a magnetic field and light), scientists at the Laboratoire ...

Scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles

Mar 30, 2015

Biomedical researchers led by Dr. Gang Zheng at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre have successfully converted microbubble technology already used in diagnostic imaging into nanoparticles that stay trapped in tumours to potentially ...

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines

Mar 26, 2015

The latest DNA nanodevices created at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM)—including a robot with movable arms, a book that opens and closes, a switchable gear, and an actuator—may be intriguing ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.