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BASE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 516961
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Netherlands

Nature’s building blocks for multifunctional coatings

EU-funded scientists developed novel coatings for plastics, metals and ceramics. Molecules found in nature that are the building blocks of proteins provided the starting point.
Nature’s building blocks for multifunctional coatings
Coatings benefit products in many ways. They can provide anti-reflection properties, protection from rust and corrosion, enhanced strength and durability, and resistance to moisture.

Nanotechnology and the use of coatings based on the atomic- and molecular-scale properties of materials is a relatively new but rapidly growing area making great strides in advancing the state of the art in coating technology.

European scientists came together to develop innovative nanocoatings using nature as a cue with funding for the ‘Bio-based functional materials from engineered self-assembling peptides’ (BASE) project.

Investigators set out to produce self-assembling coatings using the building blocks of proteins, amino acids that in combination form short peptide sequences (and eventually large protein structures).

To date, industrial exploitation of peptide self-assembly has been limited due to cost and technological maturity. The investigators thus focused on demonstrating the functional performance of tailored, self-assembled peptide nanocoatings as well as their engineering on an industrial scale at a competitive cost.

Extensive research was done to characterise the self-assembly behaviours of specific peptides on various substrates as well as to produce the peptides on an industrial scale at low cost. In addition, scientists investigated processing methods to trigger self-assembly and produce coatings with equal or better performance characteristics than conventional coatings.

BASE achieved proof-of-concept regarding industrial-scale production of nanocoatings based on self-assembling peptides. Optimisation is required and further cost reductions using biomass as the source of self-assembling peptides are being explored.

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