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To develop a scratch resistance coating using a molecular self assembly nanotechnology for plastic products (NANOSCRATCH)
Start date: Sep 1, 2009, End date: Aug 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The project aims to develop a novel high performance scratch resistant coating technology for plastic pieces at a low cost using an environmental friendly and tailor-made process, over a broad range of plastic materials. These coated plastics can substitute weighty materials, as metallic or glassy components, and high cost engineering plastic materials. The new coating technology to develop is based on self assembly nanotechnology. Nowadays, plastic materials present limited scratch and mar resistance when compared with materials as ceramics, glass or metals. After a short period of use, plastic parts surface is damaged and aesthetically defects appear (blisters, cracks, scratches…). Scratches can be an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, reducing the hygienic properties of plastics materials. These negative properties limit the usability of these materials in a broad range of applications and leading companies are making constant efforts to overcome this problem. NANOSCRATCH approach will provide a novel technology based on the facts that the surface of certain plastics can be modified through a mild oxidation and chemical functionalization process, using self-assembled molecules. This new technique will provide an effective bond between the plastic surface and the nanoparticle coating, due to a highly cross-linked network formed at the surface, avoiding the traditional adhesion problems of coatings applied onto plastics, due to its low polarity, while maintaining the aspect of the original part. The new technique involves three steps: mild oxidation, self-assembly and co-deposition of nanoparticles. Among the main potential applications, the project will focus on high scratch resistance plastic pieces for the automotive industry and white-goods appliances manufacture in order to replace weighty, expensive and non-recyclable Engineering Thermoplastics and glass by PP filled grades, transparent plastics (mainly PC) and ABS"
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