Plastic nanotechnology: how to improve the surface properties of materials

Category: Nanotechnology applications in the plastics industry

plastic nanotechnologyAIMPLAS has completed the researches made to develop new functional coatings for plastic, ceramics, metal and glass, thanks to nanotechnology. The research tasks carried out within the frame of the project Nanosurf, funded by the Valencian Centre of Business Competitiveness (IVACE) through the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) funds, have been coordinated by AIMPLAS and has counted on the participation of the four centres associated to REDIT: the Ceramics Technology Institute (ITC), the Metal Mechanic Technology Institute (AIMME), the Technology Institute of Furniture, Wood and Packaging (AIDIMA) and the Textile Industry Research Association (AITEX).

According to the researchers involved in the project, nanotechnology applied to the modification of different surfaces constitutes a high-relevance tool, both currently and for the future, since many of the right properties or the requirements demanded in a material depend mainly on the surface. Really innovative surface treatments currently exist, which allow an important improvement of the properties of traditional materials and they also proportionate new functions which have never been used.

In the case of biomimetism, a highly-potential scientific-technological field that tries to apply the solutions founded by human beings through millions of years of evolution to traditional materials. The nanostructured surface technology allows adapting many of these natural solutions.

Diversity of materials and application sectors

During the project development the treatments are being studied by nanomaterials with higher current technology interest, both for polymeric substrates and metallic, wooden, textile, ceramic or in glass substrates. The purpose of this collaboration between such horizontal sectors is to find and define common points, synergies and convergences between the different coating technologies and surface treatments. As a consequence, as a previous stage to these treatments, it is important to detect the feasibility of surface activation methodologies that can be compatible between metals, woods, textiles, ceramic materials and polymers.

Another point of special interest of this collaboration between centres has focused on detecting convergences when employing the characterization techniques common in metals, wood, textiles, ceramics or polymers that determine the properties improvement in surface (tribological, sensorial, microbial, different functions, etc.)

They are researches in line with a future trend, as it is the use of the so-called hybrid materials: materials whose properties are not like traditional materials individually treated, but another material ones, with characteristics and properties derived from the synergies between them.

Therefore, one of the main advantages of the collaboration between technology centres is to detect and lately apply the existent convergences between the treatments by means of nanotechnology, on the different surfaces and their characterisation techniques as a prospection for the development of these new hybrid materials.

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