Coating science for concrete flooring has entered a brave new world thanks to nanotechnology, the use of particles in the 1- to 100–nanometer range — that’s as small as 10-9 of a meter. Particles this small behave according to the rules of quantum mechanics, creating completely new realms of applications. One exciting use of this technology is nanocoatings that can be applied to a variety of surfaces. We at PennCoat are, of course, most interested in concrete nanocoating products that provide superior protection against water damage, dirt, microbes and graffiti.
The organizing principle of nanotechnology is particle size, so it’s hard to generalize about the wide range of properties these particles have. Most of the nanocoating products available today use proprietary secret ingredients. However, at least one line of nanocoating products, UK-based NanoProtect, uses nanoparticles based on silane, a compound containing silicon and hydrogen (SiH4). Concrete coatings containing nanoparticles can provide a number of advantages:
- Water Repellant: Typical waterproofing coatings create an impermeable film that keeps water from getting in or out. However, moisture trapped within concrete can lead to corrosion from within. Water-repellant nanocoatings penetrate deeply into concrete and form a barrier against water infiltration and high humidity while allowing water to escape the concrete floor. This protects concrete not only from water, but also from materials dissolved in water as well as other from other liquids (such as oily substances) that might damage the flooring.
- Protection: In addition to protecting against water damage, nanocoating formulations can help defend concrete from UV radiation, temperature extremes, abrasion and scratches, microbes, dirt and graffiti. For example, a NanoProtect anti-graffiti product provides six years of protection against up to 10 graffiti-removing cycles without creating a film-coating effect. Different products can be used together to confer a broad spectrum of protection against water, dirt and graffiti.
- Ease of Use: The NanoProtect products in their NanoStone line are water-based, have low VOCs, and are safe and easy to apply. These products are environmentally friendly, non-flammable and don’t require any special precautions. You apply the products to concrete and other porous surfaces with an HVLP spray gun or a roller.
The Nanocoatings Industry
According to a study performed by Grand View Research, nanocoatings will experience explosive growth, creating a market for 1,262.9 kilotons worth $8.17 billion by 2020. Contrast this with 2012, when 255 kilotons had an estimated value of $1.49 billion. Usage rose to 309.5 kilotons in 2013. This includes the full range of coating applications, not just concrete. Nanocoatings are heavily used today to waterproof cell phones and other electronic gear. They confer appliances and vehicles with resistance to fingerprints and make surfaces easy to clean. Hospitals and labs use anti-microbial nanocoatings, and the health care industry is the largest market for nanocoatings.
In addition to the aforementioned NanoProtect line of nanocoatings, other companies selling concrete nanocoatings include:
- NanoTech Concrete Coating protects from water, animal and bird droppings, salt, acids in foods and beverages, gum and graffiti. Available in a gloss or satin finish, the product requires a clean substrate free from any dirt, oil, silicones or grease. The concrete should dry to no more than 13 percent moisture content.
- Nanokote SOL confers water and environmental protection to concrete in a water- or solvent-based form that doesn’t affect the surface texture and is non-slippery.
- NanoCare Mineral Coating uses water-based silicon dioxide (SiO2) technology to manufacture a concrete nanocoating that repels dirt, water, frost and graffiti. It withstands virtually all standard and industrial cleaners except for strong alkalines.
- NewLook SmartSeal is available as a nano-acrylic or nano-acrylic urethane concrete nanocoating that can be used on stained concrete. It provides the usual water and dirt protections, as well as resisting hot-tire pickup.
- ZurClean Nano Concrete & Floor Sealant protects against water dirt, scuffs, soil, wet leaves, food and oil.