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Bayer promotes nanotubes for “smart” coatings


Carbon nanotubes represent an important option for imbuing coatings with a range of enhanced properties and extra functions, according to Bayer MaterialScience (BMS), and their use as a coating additive could open up intriguing perspectives.
The high mechanical strength and electrical conductivity of the particles, in particular, promise novel possibilities in coating formulation and for improving the strength of structural components while keeping their weight extremely low. BMS has developed carbon nanotubes under the Baytubes brand.
The aviation industry poses demanding challenges for coatings and adhesives, notes BMS – for instance, rapid temperature changes spanning as much as 100K, and extreme ultraviolet loadings. “Smart” coatings could offer solutions here. With lower-tech modes of transport, such as shipping, the focus shifts to aspects such as scratch and abrasion resistance; the prevention of growths on the ship’s hull, which increase energy consumption due to greater frictional resistance; and weathering. Novel epoxy-gel coatings with nanotube additives can already significantly improve the scratch resistance of ship hulls.
This potential is also available for the leisure industry. In a current experiment, the Norwegian research consultancy Re-Turn has coated kayak hulls with an epoxy gel finish containing nanotubes. Improved scratch resistance makes the boats even more robust than hitherto, and better able to withstand such punishment as running aground on a gravel shore or contact with the river bank.

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