Article last updated on: Jan 25, 2019

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

The latest graphene coating news:

New graphene-based coating developed for the protection of paintings

A team of researchers from the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences of Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH/ ICE-HT), the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras, and the Center for Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI) of the University of Florence, led by Professor Costas Galiotis, set out to use 'graphene veils' for the protection of paintings against environmental degradation.

The exposure of colors used in artworks to ultraviolet (UV) and visible light in the presence of oxidizing agents, triggers color degradation, fading and yellowing. These degradation mechanisms can lead to irreversible alteration of artworks, which consist of a valuable heritage for humankind. Currently used protective varnishes and coatings are often problematic, as their removal requires the use of solvents, which can adversely affect the underlying work surface.

AMD secured U.S Government contract to develop films for laser protective eyewear

Advanced Material Development (AMD) has been awarded a US Government contract to develop protective films to be integrated into protective eyewear. The contract with the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD, formerly CTTSO) will fund AMD’s development of laser filtering coatings, based on AMD’s nanomaterial and photonic crystal technologies.

AMD incorporates few layer graphene (FLG) into a polymeric substrate to create the photonic crystals which are the foundation of their platform technology.

AMD and First graphene to collaborate on development of graphene inks and coatings

Advanced Material Development (AMD) and First Graphene have agreed to collaborate on the ongoing development of AMD’s conductive inks and other graphene enabled coatings.

Under a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU), AMD will provide expertise in the design and development of functional nanomaterials and hierarchical assembly of material systems, while First Graphene delivers capabilities in the development, manufacture and supply of its graphene nanoplatelets, branded PureGraph.

AGM to present 'breakthrough nanotechnology for water-based epoxy coating' at Corrosion 2021 event

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM), producer of graphene nanoplatelet dispersions, recently announced that it will be presenting a breakthrough technology that enables easy graphene dispersion in water-based epoxy coatings, while delivering improved corrosion protection, at the Corrosion 21 Conference & Expo on 28th April 2021.

AGM said that the technology represents a major milestone in the development of performance-enhancing graphene technologies for more sustainable coatings manufacturers. AGM has previously made strides in anticorrosion performance in solvent-based coatings through the use of its Genable graphene nanoplatelet dispersion technology. However, water-based coating development remains a key focus for industry formulators looking to improve the safety and environmental impacts of their products.

Talga reports positive results from marine real-world testing of its graphene-based coatings

Talga Resources has reported a milestone moment in a sea trial of its Talcoat graphene coating.

Talga starts trial of graphene coating on cargo ship image

The company initially developed the graphene coating as an alternative to traditional coating methods that incorporate harmful chemicals and materials and first applied Talcoat to the hull of a ship back in late 2019 as part of a sea trial to test the coating’s robustness out in the tough ocean environment. A second application on a separate vessel followed soon after, and both trials remain ongoing.