Us­ing the sun’s en­ergy for a long-term bar­rier

Suzanne Frost finds out more about off­shore tech­nol­ogy that has be­come a first in the South African paint in­dus­try

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

PEO­PLE have been paint­ing for the past 20 000 years, from the cave man who used iron ox­ides to the an­cient Egyp­tians who de­vel­oped paints from pig­ments in the soil. Just when you thought the paint in­dus­try had it all we learn that it is about to be rev­o­lu­tionised by a world-wide tech­nol­ogy ac­tive in the fields of chem­istry, physics, bi­ol­ogy and medicine.

In SA we now have ac­cess to a self-clean­ing ex­te­rior wall paint, Du­ram Nan­oTech, through the use of an ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy called nano, which de­vel­ops a dy­namic, pro­tec­tive molec­u­lar layer. These self-clean­ing, pho­to­cat­alytic nano par­ti­cles are energised con­tin­u­ally by the sun’s UV rays, even on cloudy days, to de­com­pose dirt, mildew, fungi, al­gae and pol­lu­tion.

“Be­ing a small paint-man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany has given us an ad­van­tage in in­tro­duc­ing new con­cepts and tech­nolo­gies to the paint mar­ket,” says Si­mon Stekhoven, CEO of Du­ram.

“Size is im­por­tant in Nan­oTech. Its mi­cro­scopic-sized nano par­ti­cles — each less than a mil­lionth of a mil­lime­tre in size — are in­te­grated into the molec­u­lar struc­ture of the paint, giv­ing per­for­mance and pro­tec­tion that far ex­ceeds the tra­di­tional pig­ments used in con­ven­tional paint.”

The com­pany prides it­self on in­no­va­tion and says it de­vel­oped SA’s first acrylic wa­ter­proof­ing sys­tem, first wa­ter-based enamel paint and first 700ºC heat-re­sis­tant paint. It has de­signed this new gen­er­a­tion of paint tech­nol­ogy to in­clude a pro­tec­tive layer of sunblock em­bed­ded in the paint, help­ing to pre­serve its vivid colour.

“We have needed to adopt a strat­egy of in­no­va­tion in or­der to com­pete with the big­ger es­tab­lished paint brands in SA,” says Stekhoven.

“We have found that be­ing fo­cused on sourc­ing new raw ma­te­ri­als and in­ter­na­tion­ally de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy has given us an edge.”

He says that Nan­oTech’s ac­tive in­gre­di­ent is energised by the sun, con­tin­u­ally work­ing to en­sure a longer at­trac­tive­ness of the build­ing years af­ter ex­po­sure, un­like con­ven­tional paints that de­te­ri­o­rates over time. Ideal for the South African en­vi­ron­ment, the nano par­ti­cles of­fer ex­cel­lent pro­tec­tion against our ex­treme con­di­tions, specif­i­cally the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of the sun’s UV rays.

“Even though nano tech­nol­ogy is only in its in­fancy we have seen how vastly it im­proves paint per­for­mance,” says Du­ram’s tech­ni­cal man­ager, Ken Greaves.

“We are con­stantly on the hunt for ground-break­ing tech­nolo­gies that will en­hance the ben­e­fits of paint, as in the case of Nan­oTech, where we mon­i­tored in­ter­na­tional trends be­fore we de­vel­oped it to change the South African paint mar­ket.”

He says that in ad­di­tion to Nan­oTech’s en­hanced weath­er­pro­tec­tive qual­i­ties and self-clean­ing na­ture, the paint has an in­built hard­ness, is scrub re­sis­tant and re­quires low main­te­nance. Du­ram has de­signed a pure acrylic for­mu­la­tion with a smooth matt fin­ish that re­sists fad­ing and chalk­ing, bridges hair­line cracks and mi­nor im­per­fec­tions and comes with an eight-year guar­an­tee.

As an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­uct work­ing with na­ture to self-clean, Nan­oTech is wa­ter­based, non-toxic, lead and heavy metal-free, with no added harm­ful in­gre­di­ents, says Greaves.

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