Smart Coatings display certain properties upon reacting to external stimuli such as light, pressure, or electric current. Such characteristics promote their use in material sciences, colloidal chemistry, biomedical sciences, and polymer chemistry. Some of the advantages of these coating include, their ability to detect and prevent corrosion, on-demand delivery of corrosion inhibitors, and being environmentally friendly. The automotive industry has been on the front in implementing such coatings technology into their production lines for many years. Over the last 25 years there have been multiple regulatory directives encouraging the use of more environmentally safe products in the manufacture of these components. Many of the components that are manufactured today adhere to these new guidelines and have become a very popular choice for car owners around the world.
Many of the Smart Coatings contain metal and metal oxide nanoparticles which provide various functional properties and enhanced performance. These coatings remain passive in ideal state and perform a function based on the stimuli when external force or a command is given. While automotive VOC reduction is an important factor in the implementation of the smart coatings there is still another benefit that can be traced back to the original application of these coatings. Smart coating technology was first developed for the aerospace and defense industry and because of the nature of the materials that were used it was often applied in only a few specific places. The coating would be used on surface areas that would experience the most wear and tear from abrasive exposure or high temperatures. For example, the smart coatings that are used on the bodies of rocket launch vehicles are typically applied on the nose, the right side of the wing and the underside of the aircraft.
While the primary focus of smart coatings systems is to add additional safety and durability to existing products, it is also cost effective means of reducing the costs associated with maintenance and repair of these parts. This alone will help to alleviate some of the stress associated with long term maintenance and repair of the equipment.
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