Tata Chemicals develops revolutionary nano zinc oxide to impart UV blocking and anti-microbial properties in paints
Nano Zinc Oxide, even though invisible to the naked eye, is an essential component in our day-to-day products. Nanotechnology used for its manufacturing is hailed as the new-age technology that produces smaller, lighter yet more functional products.
A superior quality of dispersible nano Zinc Oxide, developed by Tata Chemicals using innovative nanotechnology, ZnSpers imparts better UV blocking and anti-microbial properties in paints. It enables the coatings to retain their colour and shine for longer, thus revolutionising the way paints are manufactured. It can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees centigrade. It is suited for adhesive applications that need bonding action during heat treatment or when exposed to high temperatures.
The most unique quality of nZno produced by Tata Chemicals is a customised variant that is especially created to suit the needs of a specific product. it is a versatile component that can be applied across sectors while being free of harmful compounds.
Significance of the development
The nano-material version of zinc oxide retains its primary properties, and also provides additional value such as water dispersion and anti-microbial/anti-fungal properties to the applications, elucidates Shohab Rais, Chief Operating Officer, Indian Chemical Business, Tata Chemicals, who oversees the efficient operation, development and growth of the Indian Chemical Business in India and who has over 33 years of industry experience in diverse fields ranging from chemicals, manufacturing, power plant operations and appliances.
“The purpose of engineering this versatile and functional product is a result of the need from a decade ago to replace organic UV blockers in paint, cosmetics and various applications because of their harmful side effects and poor durability. Furthermore, the growing demand for superior materials like nano Zinc Oxide (nZnO) for improved anti-fungal, anti-microbial and UV blocking properties in industrial and cosmetic applications will drive the growth of this segment,” he adds.
Unique features of the oxide
What makes Tata nZno stand out is the patented manufacturing process the benefits of which are minimal energy consumption and significant ease of operations. The nZnO produced using this technology is available in nine unique grades and due to its versatility can be customised to meet specific application needs, explains Shohab Rais.
Functionalized nano zinc oxide is a multifunctional ingredient that can be used in paints and polymers, which stands apart from the bulk variant because of its fine powder form. With its higher surface area and higher absorption cross-section of UV rays, it ensures the retention of colour and gloss in paints.
This product is a transparent broad band UV blocker that blocks UVA, UVB and UVC. It disperses well in water, solvents and glycols which leads to easy usage and lower dosage for delivering the required properties. It also acts as a broad spectrum anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.
Value preposition to paint manufacturers
“Many of these distinct USPs being developed are leveraging nano-technologies to deliver distinctive value. The replacement of organic UV blockers with nZnO is an example. We work closely with the customers to collaboratively develop these ingredients that can be incorporated in their products to help them deliver distinct USPs,” adds Shohab Rais.
According to reports, the global nano zinc oxide market was valued at $2.1 Bn in 2015 and is expected to reach $7.7 Bn by 2022. While the Indian nZno market is still at a nascent stage, we are witnessing a favourable demand and adoption of this compound across industries from paints & coatings to cosmetics and personal care.
Tata Chemicals strives to cater to this demand through its strong R&D capabilities including nanotechnology and create value offerings in the niche area of advanced nano-material solutions.
“Going forward, our priority is to scale the nZno business into coatings and additive applications and also expand the portfolio into healthcare and other advanced applications,” states Rais.
R & D and cutting-edge technology
“We have been working on this discovery over the past few years and have developed customized products based on the unique requirements of our customers,” says Rais who elaborates: “Tata Chemicals for over eight decades has brought to the fore knowledge and expertise in science to develop innovative products that provide a competitive edge to customers. With R&D and innovation at the core of our business practice, we have leveraged our proprietary knowhow, supported by our Innovation Centre (IC), to deliver high performance solutions, one of them being nano-materials. We have stretched the nano Zinc oxide variants into textiles and fabric, from paints, Cosmetics and Industrial applications. And our, focus in this area continues.”
The company says this patented process also ensures that the product is free of harmful heavy metal compounds making it safe for use in a wide range of applications from personal care to products for children and infants.
“R & D and innovation form the crux of our business. As an innovative, science-led sustainable chemistry company, we are among the few manufacturers, globally, to have developed our patented technology to deliver nano-material solutions that offer better performance in terms of varied applications and efficiency,” concludes Shohab Rais, Chief Operating Officer, Indian Chemical Business, Tata Chemicals Ltd