In architectural coatings, water-based paints tend to be less resistant to wear and difficult to maintain, thus limiting their applications in outdoor environments. Solvent-based antifouling paints, though more durable, contain a high amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that may cause air pollution and pose health risks. To compensate for these drawbacks, ITRI developed the Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating that can significantly reduce VOC emissions and PM 2.5 concentrations. This new technology can protect surfaces against not only water and oil but also dry pollutants such as dust and particulate matter, which distinguishes it from current coatings and makes it a major innovation in coating material design.
Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating.
The Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating uses sol-gel, which features a water-based inorganic antifouling nano-comb structure that is liquid repellent. This technology uses water as the solvent to synthesize hydrophobic and inorganic particles. When combined with paints, this allows the coating process to be completed with just a single coat without priming. Moreover, it enhances the compatibility and stability of hydrophobic materials in water. When the coating is applied to the surface of a substrate, the hydrophobic materials can assemble and align themselves, showing excellent anti-pollutant and water-resistance properties. In addition, the introduction of inorganic particles vastly extends the product’s outdoor lifespan and enhances surface compactness and hardness, providing wood surfaces with long-lasting protection against stains, dust and abrasion.
|Product Type/ Attribute||Brand A||ITRI’s Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating|
|Coating Process||2 coats||1 coat|
|Water Resistance||< 100 times (shedding)||> 400 times|
(> 700 g/L)
(< 50 g/L)
|Water Contact Angle (Wood)||~155˚||~146˚|
|Normal Hexadecane Contact Angle||~136˚||~113˚|
|Price||$5/ft 2||$0.2/ft 2|
In 2015, ITRI’s team began collaborating with a U.S. paint manufacturer to conduct field tests of water-based omniphobic coatings. The results showed that the coated surface remained dry and clean with significantly lower amounts of pollutants. The VOCs released were only 7% the amount of the compared product. Such traits can help extend the lifespan of building materials and reduce the labor costs of cleaning and maintenance. The figure above suggests that Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating is much more eco-friendly, durable, and resistant to wear than current solvent-based products.
It is not easy even for experienced coating engineers to discover a structure for a water-based nano-comb antifouling and water-repellent coating. ITRI’s team found such a structure that can make the coating durable in harsh environments and protect the base material’s surface. Unlike conventional solvent-based coating that requires two separate coats, this technology uses only one coat, saving time and manpower. In sum, the Omniphobic Easy Clean Coating is simple to apply, cost-effective, and scalable. It has been proved to show great robustness and reliability, and therefore is able to greatly improve the coating quality and efficiency.