Most plastics fall short the highly scratch-resistant properties offered by ceramics, glass and metals. Scratch resistance is generally required from materials used as coverings and laminates. Some options use of loads (wollastonite, nanoclays), slip agents and silicone-based additives. However, none of these current methods is entirely satisfactory.
The use of coatings is one of the most advanced technologies. These are generally applied to protect, improve or decorate different products. However, low polarity means poor adhesion between the coating and the plastic surface.
The Erum group has been looking at new technologies based on molecular self assembly (self assembled monolayers or SAMs), one of the most promising techniques for creating scratch-resistant coatings at a competitive price using a customised, environmentally-friendly process.
This makes coated plastics a viable alternative to heavier, more expensive materials such as metals, ceramic, glass and high-cost technical plastics.
Initially, Erum intends to carry out tests on these materials with several products for the car industry, before extending this research to some of its models of garment hangers.