A coating is a thin layer applied to a material for aesthetic reasons or to protect it. Additives in the coating limit damage from moulds and blemishes from algal growth. Increasingly stringent environmental legislation and tight European directives are encouraging research into environmentally friendly coatings. TNO's research is contributing to product development.
As more environmentally friendly coatings are introduced, solvent-based binders and chemical additives are making way for water-based binders and more environmentally friendly additives. Biocides can be added to coatings to protect against micro-organism growth. However, biocides tend to leach from the material throughout the life cycle. TNO's research focuses on developing new technologies for keeping biocides active longer. An active life four times as long is now possible, which cuts maintenance costs substantially.
TNO and the TU Eindhoven are also performing fundamental research into the curing process and moisture transport in coatings. Experiments on a micrometre scale in an MRI scanner are revealing how coatings perform, and what effect additives have on moisture transport. TNO is using this knowledge to help industry develop new, long-lasting high-performance coatings.