When nanotechnology helps get rid of boredom

Researchers working on nanocomposite coating for colouring glass.

By Author  |  Published: 26th Feb 2017  12:33 amUpdated: 26th Feb 2017  1:10 am
Nanotechnology

Hyderabad: The days when you got glass windows or partitions of a particular colour installed and continued with the same colour for years together could soon be over.

Researchers at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) are working on a nanocomposite coating for colouring of glass — mainly architectural glass — which enables the colour of the glass to be changed. This gets rid of the boredom brought by a permanent single colour. A little bit of heating, literally, is enough to change the colour, though this will have to be done by experts.

ARCI director G Padmanabham said the final product will soon be ready. Such nanocomposite-coated glass, Padmanabham said, will be environment-friendly, unlike the conventional coloured glass and recycling too will be possible. The coated glass will also have easy-to-clean surfaces.

The nanocomposite coating for glass is among the various ongoing programmes at ARCI’s Centre for Sol-Gel Coatings, which also developed anti-microbial, easy-to-clean coatings for metals, glass and plastic and self-cleaning, photocatalytic coatings for metals, glass and ceramics, to mention a few.

Hard coating on plastic, especially transparent plastic used for windshields, headlamps and ophthalmic lenses, is also being readied at the Centre. Sol-gel nanocomposite hard coatings, which can be cured at low temperatures, offer excellent scratch and abrasion resistance while maintaining transparency. These can be used in a wide range of applications such as road and pavement markers, helmet visors, automotive headlamps, coloured headlamps, ophthalmic lenses and ophthalmoscopic lenses.

ARCI, celebrating 20 years on Monday, so far transferred 30 technologies to the industry for commercialisation. These included detonation gun-based thermal spray coatings technology for wear-resistance applications in various industrial systems, honeycomb-based energy efficient industrial heaters and nano-silver and nano-titania for texting coatings for anti-bacterial and self-cleaning properties, Padmanabham said.

The Centre earlier developed life-saver anti-mine shoes for personnel prone to exposure of mine blasts and is focusing on clean energy techniques as well, while its Centre for Fuel Cell Technology in Chennai is now able to produce Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells up to 20kW.