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 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.

Four layers of GO coating on polycarbonateFour 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.

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

Graphene Innovation & Technologies begins graphene-based coatings for marine applications research project with the Dalhousie Centre for Water Resource Studies

Graphite Innovation & Technologies logoCanada-based Graphene Innovation & Technologies (GIT) has recently announced been its participation in a Nova Scotia Business (NSBI) Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program with Centre for Water Resource Studies at Dalhousie University. The program will facilitate comprehensive research into using multilayer graphene in protective coatings for marine-based applications.

The goal of this collaboration is to investigate environmentally friendly alternatives to marine anti-fouling coatings, many of which function by releasing potentially harmful copper oxide particles into the ocean. The team has begun an extensive research project comparing the performance of GIT’s GrapheneCoat™ formulations against conventional anti-fouling coatings. Sensitive testing is being used to finely monitor the growth rates of microorganisms on the coated samples.

First Graphene demonstrates its graphene-based fire retardant material

First Graphene has provided an update on its development of the FireStop graphene-enhanced fire retardant coating in the form of a video. Development of the FireStop material is being conducted in conjunction with the University of Adelaide as part of the Company’s participation as a Tier 1 participant in the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation.

The video shows the dramatic effectiveness of FireStop when applied to simple wooden structures. Whereas the untreated structure on the left is totally consumed by fire, the structure treated with the FireStop retardant doesn’t seem to catch fire even after five minutes of trying. Given that fires generally start at specific ignition points, the ability of a graphene-based retardant to stop the ignition is a key feature of the product.

The Graphene Catalog - find your graphene material here

CealTech's marketing and sales manager explains the company's technology and business

Michel Eid (CealTeach)Norway-based CealTech was established in 2012 to commercialize a patented 3D graphene production method. The company recently received its first prototype proprietary industrial-scale Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PE-CVD) graphene production reactor.

We discussed CealTech's technology and business with the company's marketing and sales manager, Michel Eid. Michael holds a Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics from the Ecole Polytechnique in France, and held various roles in engineeing, manufacturing, sustaining, sales, marketing and business development. Michel joined CealTech in January 2017.

Q: Hello Michael. CealTech is commercializing a patented 3D graphene production method. Can you give us some details on the process and the material you are producing?

Our production process is based on David Boyd’s technique as per Nature communications (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7620), ‘Single-step deposition of high-mobility graphene at reduced temperatures’. In summary, the substrate is directly exposed to a low-pressure, microwave hydrogen plasma containing small amounts of methane as carbon source. During this process, vertical grown graphene flakes nucleate and arrange perpendicularly to the surface of the substrate forming a so-called 3D network of non-agglomerated graphene flakes.

Panda Green Energy cooperating with AVIC BIAM New Materials to develop graphene anti-corrosion materials

Panda Green Energy Group Limited recently announced a strategic collaboration agreement with AVIC BIAM New Materials Technology Engineering Company Limited to jointly develop and manufacture graphene VCI anti-corrosion materials.

This is not the first collaboration between the two companies, and it was stated that this new project is the starting point to promote the combination of new materials and new energy. Panda Green Energy’s future cooperation with AVIC BIAM New Materials will continue to extend, and contribute to leading the industry standards and promoting technological progress throughout the industry.

Talga reported positive results from graphene-enhanced epoxy resin-based coatings

Talga Resources logo 2017Talga Resources has announced positive initial test results from epoxy resin-based coatings formulated using Talga’s Talphene branded graphene. Epoxy based coatings are used in various applications, from internal concrete flooring to urban construction products, and they particularly suit anti-corrosion applications.

Talga’s tests used a formulated dispersion of Talga’s few layered graphene (FLG) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), mixed into a two-part epoxy resin. Initial test results show significantly improved coating performance attributes including higher corrosion resistance, increased mechanical strength and higher abrasion resistance compared to the control coatings using commercial type zinc-rich epoxy. Among the key performance gains reported (against control epoxy coatings) are 160% increase in tensile strength, 80% increase in abrasion resistance and 2 orders of magnitude decrease in corrosion rate over zinc-rich epoxy.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!