Nano-Ceramic Coated Plastics

A novel, controlled, low-temperature process (< 100˚C) based on in-situ precipitated nanostructures grown in aqueous solution is the key to making and depositing, non-destructively, functional metal oxide films on various substrates, including plastics. Crystalline Titanium oxide (TiO2) and Zinc oxide (ZnO) coatings are photocatalytic under UV light (and sunlight) and can be used to decompose organic compounds, including fats and oils, which can then be more readily washed off with water, reducing in turn the use of detergents.  At scale, processing can be as simple as dipping the carrier in aqueous precursor solution and holding it therein until the desired thickness of the coating is grown. Electro-deposition is another approach to applying the coating.   Plastic products are replacing a myriad of glass, ceramic and metal cookware items due to their durability, versatility, and lower manufacturing cost.   This trend will accelerate once coated plastics which resist malodors and stains and do not deteriorate over time after exposure are introduced to prepare, serve, consume, and store foods.  Conformable and durable nanoceramic coatings that can be dyed and offer self-disinfecting and non-stick functionality to flexible as well as rigid plastics, are attractive to a kitchenware market that favors innovative, aesthetically-pleasing and functional products of all sizes, shapes and colors. The coating can be conformed to a variety of substrates, for examples, polymers, silicone, Teflon, PET, non-wovens, textiles, wood, and foams, to impart a self-cleaning, anti-bacterial layer that is light-activated.  The novel coating reacts with organic compositions and thus can counter staining, odors, discoloration, and smudges caused by organics, and can reduce dirt and dust build-up, i.e., under exposure to ultraviolet light, the organic compositions are oxidized and degraded, which can directly bleach many stains, and otherwise solubilize organic debris. In a hospital or institutional environment, applications include coating of headboards, siderails, bedstands, chairs, window and floor coverings, toilets, faucets, sinks, door hardware, trays, cups, pitchers, knives, forks, spoons, bedpans, drapes, cushions, room dividers, trash receptacles, and medical and surgical device packaging – wherever a UV light source (gas discharge, fluorescent, LED, etc.) can drive the photocatalytic process.

Advantages:

  • Improves plastic kitchenware performance and versatility, making plastic competitive or superior to glass and ceramics in various settings, including use at high temperatures, e.g., baking or frying, and in non-traditional shapes. 
  • Dipping plasticware into an aqueous solution for several minutes is a simple, low-cost, low-temperature, and scalable manufacturing step (does not require vacuum processing).
  • Photocatalytic property of coated plastic kitchenware reduces use of detergents for cleaning.

     

Binghamton University RB416

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