Multifunctionality Has Become a Necessary Feature of Higher-end Coatings
Increasing importance of functional coatings
The growth in both R&D, commercialization, and consumer demand for multifunctional coatings is increasing at much higher speed than conventional coatings, says Jamil Baghdachi, professor of Polymers and Coatings Eastern Michigan University’s Coatings Research Institute. Here he addresses the current status of functional and multifunctional coatings.
What coatings functionalities are the focus of research at the moment?
Jamil Baghdachi: Traditionally, the primary functions of coatings are to protect and decorate substrates. More recently, growth has occurred in research and development and commercialization of multifunctional coatings that have novel functions in addition to having traditional protection and decoration properties. In recent years, major R&D has been focused on heath/medical and industrial/consumer products.
Functionalities such as on-demand drug elution and delivery, malfunction detection and responsiveness, as well has antiviral/antimicrobial properties are in high demand. Stimuli responsive multifunctionalities are the focus for coatings used in industrial and consumer goods and materials.
In recent years, major R&D has been focused on heath/medical and industrial/consumer products.
What is the current state in multifunctional coatings?
Baghdachi: R&D in multifunctional coatings has been increasing year after year since the benefits of multifunctionally has been closely experienced both by industry and the public. Today, multifunctionality has become a necessary feature of higher-end coatings.
The growth in both research/development/commercialization and consumer demand for multifunctional coatings is increasing year after year at much higher speed than conventional coatings.
Which functionalities do you think are most likely to soon make the switch from research to market readiness?
Baghdachi: Understandably, what is being developed in the corners of the most prestigious labs is secret. However, improvement in functionalities such as faster and longer lasting self-healing, superhydrophobicity, shape-memory, colour changing, corrosion sensing and repair, etc., will make them common and standard for coatings.
Research in responsive coatings (multifunctional) that report shortcomings and/or potential failure have been going on for over 20 years and are soon to be commercialized. Multifunctional coatings that diagnose and repair corrosion and structural damage are undergoing rigorous testing and are expected to be available commercially within a year or two.
Similarly, beauty and skincare materials with truly multifunctional properties will be offered most likely once the danger of the pandemic is reduced.