Nanomaterials are expected to improve the existing properties of paints due to their specific structural characteristics such as size, shape and greater surface area. Currently, the most relevant nanomaterials for the paint industry are nanoscale titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide; but silver, zinc oxide, aluminum oxide, cerium dioxide, copper oxide, and magnesium oxide are also under investigation. The table provides an overview of potential functional benefits by integrating nanomaterials into the paints. Depending on the type of paint and the desired functionality, nanomaterials can be integrated as free powders, as stabilized particles in a suspension/dispersion or incorporated into master batches or granulate resulting in the nanomaterial being firmly embedded in the paint matrix.
There also exist paints or products that have a nanostructured surface, contain nanoporous materials or temporarily contain nanostructured particles (e.g. produced from water glass during the drying of the paint). As these end products do not contain any nanomaterial, they are considered to pose no nano-specific risk to humans or the environment.
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