Easy-to-Clean and Anti-Graffiti Surfaces

Organofunctional alkoxysilanes have a broad range of classical applications as adhesion promoters,crosslinkers, drying agents and surface modifiers and have been used for over 50 years in various industries. Over the last ten years alkoxysilanes with fluorinated organic substituents have attracted particular interest. The dominant application for such fluorinated compounds is surface modification, the aim being to achieve low energy surfaces with easy-to-clean,anti-graffiti and antifouling properties - in modern coating technology. In the construction business alone the market potential for these applications is estimated to be in the multi-million dollar range p.a..

Fluoroalkylsilane enables theformation of nanometer-scale, chemically bonded, hydro-/oleophobic, low-energy surface coatings,especially on smooth surfaces such as glass. Waterborne fluoroalkylsilane systems are especially suited for the surface modification of porous mineral building materials like concrete. A strong water repellent effect is combined with strong oleophobicity. Surfaces treated with the new waterborne fluoroalkylsilane systems are stain resistant, easy to clean, and significantly resistant against infestation with microorganisms like mildew or algae. On many substrates, e.g. concrete, permanent anti-graffiti properties are achievable. Particular advantages of the new protective systems are:nearly invisible coating, excellent water vapour transmission and very good UV stability. A combined application with alkyltrialkoxysilanes, which are normally used for the impregnation of concrete, gives an additional benefit: Due to their excellent penetration properties alkyltrialkoxysilanes such as isobutyltriethoxysilane impart a highly effective barrier against ingress of water transported pollutants like chlorides. In this way concrete can be protected simultaneously against both graffiti and chloride corrosion of the steel reinforcement.

Because of the particle size and a remarkable reactivity of waterborne fluoroalkylsilane systems, the penetration depth in concrete and other porous building materials is very low (Fig. 4). This desired effect leads to a high efficiancy of this special product. Relatively non-porous substrates such as concrete need about 50 – 100 g/m_ of a solution with a concentration of 15 % active compound to impart a very strong water and oil-repellent, chemical and UV resistant coating, which is necessary for good permanent anti-graffiti properties.

Water-based fluorosilane systems generate invisible, weather-resistant and breathable oil- and water-repellent coatings on porous mineral surfaces. The applications range from easy-to-clean to permanent anti-graffiti coatings. Combination with alkylsilanes offers additional protection due to the excellent penetration behaviour of monomeric silanes.

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