Graphene & Paints: New Horizons in the Paint Industry
What is graphene?
A honeycomb lattice structure with tightly packed layers of carbon atom packed is graphene. It is the thinnest (one atom thick), lightest and strongest compound known to man till date. Apart from these, best conductor of heat & electricity at room temperature. Along with these properties, graphene is also transparent & light.
Why graphene in paint industry?
Graphene’s exceptional qualities make it an interesting type of compound to be used in paints and coatings. Durable coatings can be formulated that do not crack and are resistant to water and oil, due to the high resistivity of graphene. Various conductive paints can be made using excellent electrical and thermal conductivity properties of graphene. Apart from these graphene paints can be applied to any material let it be plastic, glass, metal or even sand making them chemically and thermally stable has graphite & mechanically strong as graphene.
Graphene Paint Market
Due to wide array of properties, graphene market is finding foot in paints industries. Various research works, such as the Sixth Element Materials, a Chinese company that focuses on R&D, mass production and sales of graphene and related materials, has developed graphene-zinc, anti- corrosion primer used for offshore wind tower, that can come at a competitive price compared with zinc rich epoxy primer. The Spain-based Graphenano launched a graphene-based paint called Graphenstone (as shown in fig.). This paint is said to be very strong and it also acts as a protective layer against environmental damage. Graphenstone is made from a graphene powder and limestone powder.
Future of Graphene Paint Market
According to BCC, graphene market will be worth US$195 million by 2018, and will reach US$1.3 billion by 2023 at a compound annual rate of 47.1%. Industries that will drive this robust demand growth are likely to be those that intend to use graphene to improve performance of existing products. These include paints, coatings, galvanics, polymers and building materials collectively worth over $620 billion annually. Asia pacific is the fastest growing segment. The factors that drive the growth of Asia Pacific region include presence of large graphite mines in China; real estate scenario & Make in India initiative India will drive the growth. For China, Japan & Korea, vast scope of paint & coatings application in this region will be driving force.
Graphene production currently has no means to meet this potential demand growth. But its large-scale affordably priced graphene production will catalyse growth of this market. Taking into account wide potential of this material in paint, paint & coating manufacturers will be focusing & spending more on R & D in near future.