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What is a coating?

A coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object. The purpose of applying the coating may be decorative, functional, or both. Coatings are ubiquitous and can be found on walls, furniture, on all sorts of wires and printed circuits, the outside of houses and cars, and much more. In addition, the decorative duties of coatings span quite a broad spectrum.

Decorative coatings are mainly used for their color, texture or other visual property. Functional coatings are applied to change the surface properties of the substrate, such as adhesion, wettability, corrosion resistance, wear resistance and more. In some cases, the coating adds an entirely new property such as a magnetic response or electrical conductivity and forms an essential part of the finished product.



Coatings may be used in various processes, that are roughly divided into: vapor deposition, spraying, chemical and electrochemical techniques, roll-to-roll coating processes and other, less prominent techniques.

What is graphene?

Graphene is a two dimensional layer of carbon atoms, arranged in the form of a honeycomb lattice. It is touted as a “miracle material” because it is endowed with an abundance of astonishing traits - this thin, one atom thick substance is the lightest, strongest, thinnest material known to man, as well as the best heat and electricity conductor ever discovered - and the list does not end there. Graphene is the subject of relentless research and is thought to be able to revolutionize whole industries, as researchers work on many different kinds of graphene-based materials - each one with unique qualities and purpose.

Graphene structure photo

Graphene for coatings

The vast selection of extraordinary properties that graphene possesses can open the door to many interesting types of coatings, paints, inks and more. Graphene's high resistivity can make for durable coatings that do not crack and are resistant to water and oil; its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity can be used to make various conductive paints, and a strong barrier effect can contribute to extraordinary anti-oxidant, scratch-resistant and anti-UVA coatings.

Graphene enables a wide array of functional coatings and paints, for many possible applications. Among these can be high performance adhesives enabled by graphene's high adhesion property, anti-bacterial coatings, solar paints (capable of absorbing solar energy and transmitting it), paints that provide isolation for houses, anti-rust coatings, anti-fog paints and UV ray blockers, non-stick coatings for various domestic applications (like frying pans and countertops) and even a much-hyped possibility (currently under scientific examination) of a coating that turns a regular wall into a screen.

Commercial activity

Graphene-enhanced products are yet to reach widespread commercialization. Nonetheless, given graphene’s impressive array of properties and the vigorous R&D that is taking place, graphene-enhanced coatings should not be too far away.

The Sixth Element Materials, a Chinese company that focuses on R&D, mass production and sales of graphene and related materials, showcased its graphene-zinc anti-corrosion primer used for offshore wind power tower, that can come at a competitive price compared with zinc rich epoxy primer.

Garmor, the University of Central Florida spin-off formed to develop a new graphene oxide flakes production process, has developed graphene oxide-based coatings useful for limiting UV radiation damage to sensors and polymers. Garmor's transparent GO-films are reportedly derived from a commercially-viable and scalable process that can be readily implemented with minimal constraints.

Garmor GO coating imageFour layers of GO coating on polycarbonate

The Spain-based Graphenano announced the launch of a graphene-based series of paints and coatings called Graphenstone in 2014. These are said to be very strong and also acts as a protective layer against environmental damage. Graphenstone is made from a graphene powder and limestone powder.

Graphenstone cans photo

The British Electro Conductive Products released a sprayable transparent conductive coating based on a CNT and graphene platelets (GNP) hybrid material. TBA are targeting the food, electronics, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals markets.The new ATEX-compliant product is available as a clear, anti-static aerosol, and it should also be available as bulk paint. Its application will safeguard electronic equipment used in explosive environments and bring it up to European standards.

Further reading

Latest Graphene coating news

The Sixth Element and Daopeng unveil new graphene-based anti-corrosion coatings

Jan 08, 2017

The Sixth Element (Changzhou) logoIn a recent coatings event held in China, The Sixth Element and Daopeng Technology presented graphene-based anti-corrosion coatings.

The anti-corrosion coatings based on grapheneSE1132 from The Sixth Element are said to be a milestone for anti-corrosion applications in marine environment. Adding 1% graphene to the primer, formulated with only 25% zinc powder, more than 3000 hours can be achieved in the salt spray test. Compared to conventional anti-corrosion systems using 70%-80% zinc powder, this new formulation with 1% graphene reduces the necessary zinc amount by more than 50%.

Impressions from a visit to Haydale

Nov 17, 2016

A couple of weeks ago we visited Haydale's headquarters and production floor in Ammanford, Wales, UK. Here are our impressions following this visit, the meeting with Haydale's management and a visit to the production floor and processing rooms.

First of all, let's clear up a common misunderstanding: Haydale is not a graphene producer. It buys graphene materials (from several sources) and uses its proprietary plasma process to improve the materials, make them more uniform in quality and tailor them to specific requirements. Haydale then uses these materials to create intermediate materials - inks, coatings, composite materials (and masterbatches) and 3D filaments. Haydale is working with customers to take these materials and use them in various graphene-enhanced products.

Graphene Batteries Market Report

Graphene coating may solve the glass corrosion problem

Oct 21, 2016

Researchers at the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials (CMCM) within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), have demonstrated a graphene coating that protects glass from corrosion. Their research has been said to hold potential for solving problems related to glass corrosion in several industries.

Graphene coating against glass corrosion image

The IBS scientists grew graphene on copper and transferred either one or two atom-thick layers of graphene onto both sides of rectangular pieces of glass. The effectiveness of the graphene coating was evaluated by water immersion testing and observing the differences between uncoated and coated glass. After 120 days of immersion in water at 60 C, uncoated glass samples had significantly increased in surface roughness and defects, and reduced in fracture strength. In contrast, both the single and double layer graphene-coated glasses had essentially no change in both fracture strength and surface roughness.

Graphene 3D Lab introduces flexible conductive TPU filament

Oct 11, 2016

Graphene 3D Labs logoGraphene 3D Lab, a leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of proprietary composites and coatings based on graphene and other advanced materials, recently announced the release of a new product. The Company will now offer a filament for 3D printing that is both highly electrically conductive and flexible.

G3L reports that the enhanced properties of this product make it ideal for applications involving flexible sensors, electromagnetic/radiofrequency shielding, flexible conductive traces and electrodes to be used in wearable electronics. This new material will be available for purchase in 1.75mm diameter 100 gram spools at the Company's on-line store, www.blackmagic3D.com, under the trade name of "Conductive Flexible TPU Filament".

Imagine IM signs MOU for graphene-based geotextile coatings and wins award for graphene plant

Oct 05, 2016

Imagine IM logo image Australia-based Imagine Intelligent Materials has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TenCate Geosynthetics, for the purpose of expanding the commercialization opportunities for graphene-based geotextile coatings into the USA market.

The company stated that the next step is to modify the imgne X3 masterbatch to suit TenCate’s materials and confirm performance in field trials. The plan is that with progression of Imagine IM’s capability, it will strive to take it from polyester (PET) nonwoven geotextiles into polypropylene geotextiles.