Vědaproživot.cz about FN
New Coating Material Eliminates Bacteria
When the J. Heyrovský Institute for Physical Chemistry presented a new generation of coating material last fall, it occurred without much media attention. Now, when the flu season is approaching its peak, the topic of multifunctional antibacterial coatings is returning to the news. It appears that in two "test classrooms" this coating actually does reduce illness among students. And not only there.
For example, a nursery school in Ostrava-Paskov can boast of an unprecedentedly low number of absences of its young students. Where before in certain months many children stayed home with colds, today bacilli and bacteria seem to be leaving them alone. "Whereas in February 2013 we had average attendance of 13.2 children per class, in March of this year attendance increased by 31. 8%," says Libuše Klimundová, director of the nursery school in Ostrava-Paskov. "And that was in spite of the fact that a flu epidemic was hitting our region." Tricks, magic and sorcery? Not at all. What helped to reduce the infectiousness of the environment was a new coating material that draws on the principles of advanced photocatalytic nanotechnology.
A Paint that Destroys Allergens, Micro-organisms and Odors
"It's the Protectam FN nano-coating, that after application to the walls forms a highly oxidative surface," says Jan Procházka, director of the company, Advanced Materials. "The result is less allergies, reduced illnesses, and a safer environment. Simply put, nanotechnology is moving us forward." Protectam is the result of work by experts from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, who have developed this coating material, patented it and successfully managed to introduce it into the commercial arena. The products, which in fact have not yet reached truly industrial production levels, are being marketed by Advanced Materials JTJ (AMJTJ),
"The Protectam FN® coating material, with its photocatalytic antibacterial effects, is not only effective in cleaning the air of pollutants, allergens and unpleasant odors, but is also effective in eliminating micro-organisms such as viruses and bacteria that cause serious illnesses," adds Procházka. Not just anyone can buy the nano-coating and then paint it onto the walls. In the Czech Republic, the nano-coating is applied by the certified firm nano4people. As its director, Ing. Petr Michálek, describes it: "the surface layer formed on the walls of a room by the multifunctional coating must be activated by ultraviolet light, and in case there is not enough of it, by standard UVA bulbs or UVA LED diodes."
News Useful for Health
In the end, however, an "ordinary" wall becomes a highly effective, maintenance-free, energy-efficient air cleaner. As soon as viruses, bacteria or other organic, microscopic particles touch the light-activated surface they immediately react with atmospheric oxygen and break down into molecules of water, carbon dioxide and other materials harmless to health. One square meter of the coating's nano-particles cleans three million cubic meters of air in one year.
The success of the photocatalytic coating is also confirmed by RNDr. Erich Pazdziora, CSc., of the Ostrava Institute of Health. "In the treated rooms, the concentration of micro-organisms fell by 30-40% and no micro-organisms could be detected directly on the walls.
Even though the application of the coating (directly over the top layer of existing paint) is perfectly simple and not time-consuming, it is recommended that trained professionals who have the necessary experience apply it" says Michálek. "When the coating is applied as directed, it normally takes a weekend to do. Usually it is enough to apply the coating to the ceiling. Rising warm air carries the micro-organisms and other pollutants upward, which are then eliminated on contact."
Among the main benefits of the second generation coating material is the fact that it does not require any maintenance and its effectiveness is reduced only by mechanical damage. "The coating suspension is thinned with water and is ecologically benign; it does not contain any organic solvents, it is pH neutral and harmless to health," adds Mr. Michálek. "In short, nano-coatings can be used not only in schools and public buildings, but everywhere it is necessary to be careful to pay attention to a healthy, clean and hygienic environment."
Another pre-school in the Ostrava area, where these coatings are used, is the pre-school run by the School of Mines - Technical University in Ostrava. Besides in pre-schools, the coating with its nano-particles has been applied in the Ostrava secondary school PORG, a hospital in Kladno, a number of doctors' offices, an aquapark and a hospice in Frýdek-Místek.
In spite of the foregoing excellent results, however, this innovative coating does not yet have the direct support of legislation, so that hospitals can begin to use it. Another problem is its still-high price. Our coatings are not inexpensive," admits the firm's director, Jan Procházka. "They will get cheaper when we can begin mass production. Right now I would say that it is still a novelty on the market."
Mgr. Radomír Dohnal