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  • Final Report Summary - TRANSCOND (Development of film and coating products to replace conventional high volatile organic content and heavy metal filled formulations for the speciality electrically conductive coatings market)
FP7

TransCond Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 285908
Źródło dofinansowania: FP7-SME
Kraj: Poland

Final Report Summary - TRANSCOND (Development of film and coating products to replace conventional high volatile organic content and heavy metal filled formulations for the speciality electrically conductive coatings market)


Executive Summary:

TransCond was a two-year project, part funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme to develop a new range of transparent, conductive, sprayable coatings for the speciality conductive coatings market. The aim of TransCond was to develop a series of film and coating products, and production technology for their manufacture, to replace conventional high volatile organic content (VOC) and heavy metal filled formulations.

Electrically conductive coatings products currently comprise of colloidal dispersions of silver, nickel and copper or indium tin oxide (ITO) in organic solvents. The core concepts of the project were to reduce the content of heavy metals that are traditionally used in EMI shielding paints, to reduce the content of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and to develop transparent, conductive, flexible coatings that are not produced commercially in the market place at the moment.

The TransCond products resulted in:

i. A waterborne semi-transparent acrylic varnish for glass and plastic substrates – applications include antistatic and EMI shielding
ii. Semi-transparent waterborne polyurethane coating for glass and plastic substrates. Increased hardness – for antistatic and EMI shielding applications
iii. Non transparent waterborne acrylic paints – for metallic and plastic substrate application – available in different colours (e.g. dark red, brown, mahogany, walnut)
iv. Transparent coating for light covers and displays in ATEX environments and electronics handling applications conforming to BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007
v. Transparent coating for light covers, displays, protective screens and oven doors win ATEX environments and electronics handing applications conforming to BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007
vi. Coating for light covers, displays, protective screens, oven doors and covering large areas such as flooring, large material handling in ATEX and electronics handling applications (BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007)

The results of the project enable:

• The SME beneficiaries to enter new and existing markets with an exciting new portfolio of innovative and cost-effective products
• The partners to increase their competiveness and demonstrate their innovativeness to their customer base and target industry worldwide
• The promotion of cooperation between the material suppliers, coating manufacturers, research centres and end-users
• The improvement of skill levels throughout the supply chain

Project Context and Objectives:

An increase in the production of carbon nanoparticles (CN) and a subsequent reduction in their cost mean that they have become attractive new components of new generation coatings, paints and varnishes. For example, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and Graphene (Gn) exhibit extraordinary mechanical, electrical and thermal properties and can improve the properties of polymeric coatings (e.g. hardness, electrical and thermal conductivity).

The global market for conductive polymers rose from an estimated total of 1,000M€ in 2003 to 1,500M€ in 2009, with continued growth through to 2013. The growth was driven by the demands of manufacturers that use electronics in their products and process equipment that must be protected from electrical damage and interference by electromagnetic radiation.

TransCond was driven by the SMEs (APT, TBA and Kolor) need to develop next generation conductive coatings technologies to be able compete in this rapidly growing market. Moreover, it was to enable them to conform to ATEX Directive 94/9/EC for lighting in explosive environments.

The consortium believed that the future of conductive plastics lay in surface conductive coatings containing nanoparticles because of the far superior efficiency of surface coatings in comparison with the bulk modification of plastics for EMI and static dissipation. Against products with embedded metals, which are expensive, heavy and difficulty to recycle, next generation surface coatings offer a relatively low cost and easily applied solution. Funding was successfully sort from the European Commission and on 1st November 2011 the project named ‘TransCond’ began.

The ‘holy grail’ of coatings performance, and the main objective for TransCond, was to reach electrical resistivity down to 108 Ohm whilst maintaining 80-90% transparency for applications in polymer lighting and display applications. Particle and polymer modifications were to be developed that optimise the coatings leading to new formulations for the product portfolios of the partner SMEs. In addition, for the SMEs to realise the business opportunities the coatings processes developed had to minimise carbon loadings so that they could be realised at a cost at less than €25/kg.

The TransCond consortium is comprised of Small / Medium size enterprises (SMEs) and research partners (RTDs):

SMEs:

• A.P.T. Archimedes Polymer Technologies Ltd (Cyprus)
• Kolor Mix SP Zoo (Poland)
• TBA Electro Conductive Products Ltd (UK)

RTDs

• Zachodniopomorski Uniwersytet Technologiczny w Szczecinie (Poland)
• Smithers Rapra & Smithers Pira Ltd (UK)

The final TransCond coatings are in the range of 101 to 108 ohm, with transparency in the visible spectrum, in the range of 80% as well as conforming to Directive 94/9/EC for ‘equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres’. The project has been successfully and widely disseminated to a large audience and the products developed are ready for exploitation by the SME partners.

Project Results:

TransCond has developed a series of new coatings products and production technology for their manufacture. They are multifunctional polymer coatings with a surface resistivity in the range of 101 - 108ohm and transparency, in the visible spectrum of 80% and with a low CN content (0.05-1 wt.%). The 13 new film and coating products fulfil many of the objectives set out by the SME partners at the start of the project and have a number of applications and uses as detailed below:

i. A waterborne semi-transparent acrylic varnish for glass and plastic substrates – applications include antistatic and EMI shielding
ii. Semi-transparent waterborne polyurethane coating for glass and plastic substrates. Increased hardness – for antistatic and EMI shielding applications
iii. Non transparent waterborne acrylic paints – for metallic and plastic substrate application – available in different colours (e.g. dark red, brown, mahogany, walnut)
iv. Transparent coating for light covers and displays in ATEX environments and electronics handling applications conforming to BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007
v. Transparent coating for light covers, displays, protective screens and oven doors win ATEX environments and electronics handing applications conforming to BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007
vi. Coating for light covers, displays, protective screens, oven doors and covering large areas such as flooring, large material handling in ATEX and electronics handling applications (BS IEC 61340-5-1:2007)

The results of TransCond will strengthen the competiveness of the SME consortium through the development and exploitation of a range of carbon based coating formulations in a target range of existing and new market sectors, superior to the existing product range of metal based paints, ITO and metal hybrid components.

In order to achieve the TransCond objectives of ‘transparent, sprayable, conductive coatings’, particle and polymer modifications were developed to optimise the coatings and lead to new formulations for the product portfolios of the partner SMEs, (APT, Kolor and TBA). The Work Programme was broken down into 4 main activities:

• Nanoparticle dispersion and exfoliation development
• Carbon modification
• Coating and product formulation
• Life Cycle Analysis including a technical, economic and environmental evaluation

Development of the basic technology for the preparation of nanographite for its use in coatings formulations was performed to ensure a minimum carbon loading, maximised transparency and maximised conductivity and provide a supply of materials to be used later in the project. Three methods for Graphene production were trialled: Hummers Methods, the electrochemical exfoliation of graphite and high power sonication of the APT ArcNT material.

High power ultrasonics increase the surface area of a MWCNT/graphite hybrid (ArcNT – a material supplied by the SME partner APT) for anti-static and EMI shielding coating applications. A twofold increase in the surface area (from ~80m2/g to 160.77m2/g) was achieved. An aqueous solution resistivity of 103Ω was measured for the treated ArcNT.

TEMs showed a 4-6 layered ‘graphene’ structure of the crystalline region of the ArcNT post sonication. Epoxy based paints showed a surface resistivity in the order of 106ohm/square, with an optical transparency of 80% at 550nm. Both sonication and atmospheric plasma treatments were used to increase the surface polarity of the ArcNT for enhanced surface functionalization. XPS analysis showed an increase of 3.5%oxygen surface coverage on sonication with no further increase on plasma treatment.

BET, TEM and Raman spectroscopy were used to characterise the increase in surface area and the graphene content.

Carbon modification was carried out on the carbon constituents of the coating materials. The carbon was modified to increase its bulk electrical conductivity, optical reflectivity and enhance dispersability. Two methods of functionalization were investigated, atmospheric plasma and hydro-acoustic treatment. In addition, two further methods for silver coating CNTs were performed, the first being a chemical method and the second using atmospheric plasma. Furthermore, dispersion tests in polar and non-polar media were done. Finally, pilot scale quantities of functionalised carbon for trials in coating systems were produced and pilot scale quantities of ArcNT were sonicated and found to have 2.5% surface coverage of oxygen species.

The scaling up trials ensured that the SME partners within the project are able to have a supply of the TransCond materials for the new products and any further product development.

Testing of commercial CNTs, GNP and hybrid CNT/GNP nanofillers in powder firm or as aqueous dispersions (commercial and those developed in the project) in high solids or water thinnable coating formulations based on epoxy, acrylic or polyurethane resins was performed. Furthermore, the most promising commercial coating resins, CNTs, auxiliary agents and dispersion methods were selected. The coating production system, built at laboratory scale, was scaled up and optimised for the coatings, resin, CNTs and intermediaries in order to ensure the required levels of electrical surface resistivity (below 108Ω) and transparency. Characterisation of the coating materials were carried out to confirm the properties of the final coatings (viscosity, surface quality, electrical, thermal, thermo-mechanical and mechanical properties as well as the coating morphology by LSM and TEM).

Coating compositions based on high solids as well as water thinnable commercial acrylic, polyurethane and epoxy resins and carbon nanofillers (CN) with an electrical surface resistivity in a range of 101 to 108ohm were developed. The different coatings have specific and targeted markets, as defined by the SMEs Kolor and TBA:

i. Acrylic solvent borne system containing 0.05-0.1 wt.% of commercial carbon nanotubes (CNT) designed for coating lamp covers in explosive environments that conform to ATEX Directive 94/9/EC (surface resistivity of 108Ωand transparency of 80%)
ii. Anti-static water thinnable varnish based on acrylic or polyurethane resins for usage in machine, automotive and flooring application modified with 0.6 – 1.0 wt.% commercial CNT or CNT/GNP (Graphene Nano platelets) and providing surface resistivity of 106 - 108Ω, but a lower transparency of 40%.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of the TransCond processes and products were completed. The LCA and LCC were performed using data supplied by the partners for their process and materials. Two reports were produced – the first to provide an overview and explanation of the LCA data collated and processed into data sets for the impact to the environment of the TransCond coatings and production steps developed in the project. The second report shows the technical benefits highlighting key environmental and Health and Safety impacts as well as an economic evaluation of the materials. Finally, the costs have been realised at less than €25/kg for the coating formulation, as detailed in the Annex I.

The final ‘Plan for Dissemination and Use of Foreground’ was completed and contains a detailed description of all the exploitation activities undertaken by all the partners. In addition, there is a thorough investigation of the technological and economic potential for the use and exploitation of the project results. This includes possible sectors for application, market potential and value and how the project results can be exploited in each sector. Finally, specific opportunities for the project partners were identified and included in the PDUF.

The results of TransCond were disseminated to SMEs across Europe and to a wider audience with the aim of marketing the technology and products developed during the project. Through the dissemination activities the SMEs were able to gain feedback from their potential customer base. TransCond was widely disseminated via: 8 posters, 2 postcards, 1 technical flyer, 24 events, 4 ezines, 9 published articles and 4 case studies. In addition, the project website (available at www.transcond.org) was regularly updated to reflect the current status of the project. Finally, the SME partners are able to successfully exploit the results of the project as training activities were performed by the RTDs in order to ensure effective technology transfer.

Potential Impact:

The final TransCond coatings are in the range of 101 to 108 ohm, with transparency in the visible spectrum, in the range of 80% as well as conforming to Directive 94/9/EC for ‘equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres’. The project has been successfully and widely disseminated to a large audience and the products developed are ready for exploitation by the SME partners. Trials were carried out with existing and potential customers of the SMEs and case studies prepared on the results.

The applications for conductive materials and coatings can be divided into two main groups:

• Active applications – e.g. photovoltaic, display, lighting, energy storage and sensors
• Passive applications – e.g. radio frequency and EMF shielding, charge dissipative (antistatic) coatings for construction, equipment enclosures, packaging etc.

The total value of nano-carbon in Europe for these applications is estimated to be worth €335 million in 2018. The estimates for the global markets for nano-coatings vary, even from the same source, however, a global market of 4.51 bn Euros would seem a reasonable estimate. Within a probable European share of 1.2 bn Euros, a carbon portion of 377m Euros seems reasonable.

The results of TransCond will allow the SME partners gain entry into this growing and lucrative market. By capturing 5% of their selected target markets within two years of the project ending, the SME partners can collectively increase their revenues by up to €1 million. The main target markets for the SMEs are transparent coatings for ATEX environments (TBA), conductive coatings for ATEX environments (floors, equipment etc.) and sensors and conductive films (APT).

Dissemination and Exploitation

Dissemination was an important part of the consortiums strategy to widely exploit the results of the project. The dissemination strategy was divided into different stages starting with initial awareness raising through to preparation for exploitation following the project end. All partners contributed to the dissemination efforts and maximised the use of different dissemination channels to ensure the successful future industrial adoption of the TransCond products.

Posters, flyers and postcards were made available at the start of the project (and updated regularly throughout) to raise awareness of TransCond at conferences, exhibitions and workshops. For example, TransCond won the Best Poster award in its category at the EuroNanoForum 2013 in Dublin.

To support the future exploitation stages, case studies were developed to provide ‘real world’ examples of the products. This was further supported by the production of 3 project videos (one of which focussed on the SME partners) which were all made available via the project website and YouTube. Social media was also exploited and a Linked In group set up to promote TransCond and provide an interactive platform for interested parties.

A detailed Market Research report was prepared as part of D6.2: Final Plan for the Use and Dissemination of Foreground and covers market potential and value, growth sectors, future trends and competing technologies of the TransCond products. This information provides the SME beneficiaries with supporting data for their organisation and future business planning.

The new products will support the SMEs within the project compete in a growing and increasingly competitive marketplace. The products are ready to be commercialised by the SMEs and supporting materials such as case studies and a promotional video have been produced to assist with their marketing activities. The work carried out on the TransCond project was led by the SMEs who consistently ensured the technical direction of the project. It was clear that their overarching objective was a ‘transparent, conductive, sprayable coating’ and by the end of the project this was achieved.
List of Websites:

The TransCond website is available at: www.transcond.org

Project Coordinator:

• Prof. Tadeusz Spychaj, West Pommeranian University of Technology (Poland) tees@zut.edu.pl

SME Beneficiaries

• Chris Price, A.P.T. Archiemdes Polymer Technologies Ltd (Cyprus) Chris.p@archimedesinternational.eu
• Norbert Duczmal, Kolor Mix SP Zoo norbert@kolormix.pl
• Mark Lineker, TBA Electro Conductive Products Ltd marklineker@tbaecp.co.uk

Powiązane informacje

Kontakt

Tadeusz Spychaj, (Head of Division)
Tel.: +48 91 449 4684
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