The way in which a coating is dried/cured is essential to the final properties, functionality, and appearance of the material. Improperly dried/cured materials, like battery slurries, will generate cracking issues. The coating and drying step is crucial for the battery features.1,2
In another example, the concrete can lose a significant amount of its strength both over the short term and in terms of long-term durability. Improper curing can also lead to cracks, causing moisture ingress and subsequent physical weathering of the material.3
Paints and coatings also suffer similar problems to concrete if they are insufficiently or improperly cured.4 Improper curing can result in the poor appearance of a painted surface and can negatively affect paint durability and longevity.
There is a myriad of different curing procedures available, from the application of electromagnetic radiation at different wavelengths to wet covering and membrane curing. When developing new paints, inks, and coatings, the challenge is identifying which formulation & curing protocol are most appropriate to give the desired final properties.
Another consideration when creating a new coating formulation is often how the formulation can be made more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Typically, short cure times have been achieved through the incorporation of highly volatile solvents in paint mixtures. Now, there are attempts to find additives that do not come from petrochemical feedstocks and allow for faster air curing without compromising the final quality of the paint finish.5 Other sustainability efforts include finding bio-based formulations and components with a low carbon footprint and a low overall volatile organic compound (VOC) content.
The CurinScan Expert is the perfect instrumentation for optimizing curing procedures, quantifying which material properties are affected by different curing processes and compare different formulations, to understand the impact of an ingredients (solvent, polymer…) influence.
The CurinScan Expert is based on nanoscale mobility analysis and uses an optical method to monitor the movement of particles in the sample. Compatible with a variety of particle types, including polymers, aggregates, and pigments, the CurinScan makes it possible to record in real time how the particle motion evolves during the curing process.
Normally, the drying process of a coating involves a number of different steps, such as evaporation, packing, coalescence, and the final drying step. Times that are typically measured include the open time, tack-free, dry-hard, and dry-through times. The CurinScan can differentiate between different steps of the drying process and be used to measure and understand how external factors such as humidity and temperature influence the drying kinetics.
Temperatures up to 250 °C can be used with the CurinScan, and the user has full control over the temperature and humidity of the instrument. A key part of how CurinScan can help optimize your processes with minimal time is the easy, automated plotting of the drying kinetics and automated data analysis support.
As well as providing information on the microscopic dynamics and evolution during drying, the CurinScan can provide information on the film quality. Measurement of the mobility means it is possible to see not just, for example, when the thermoset networks start forming in polymer species but also when polymer decomposition starts to occur, unexpectedly increasing the mobility.
In terms of other innovations, the CurinScan can also provide a real-time understanding of the physics of the material behavior and allow quantification of the drying process. Many properties, such as conductivity and mechanical strength, are dependent on the microscopic properties of a material, and the non-invasive CurinScan measurements help provide in-situ data to reveal how the dynamical behavior at the microscale evolves.
Some applications of the CurinScan include in-situ drying monitoring of battery slurries. For many advanced technological applications in energy storage and renewable energy, there are many manufacturing challenges to overcome to make more reliable products and reduce the costs to make such projects financially viable. CurinScan can help accelerate the testing phase of manufacture and improve final product quality control by providing insights into the drying process and how temperature and thickness influence other properties, such as conductivity.
Another advantage of using the CurinScan to optimize your drying processes and cure times is that it is compatible with a large number of substrates. Glasses, metallic substances, papers, and wood are some of the subsets of samples that are compatible with the system. The only requirement is that the product is film forming, such as cosmetics, binders, resins, and varnishes.
Some of the parameters that can be explored include the sample formulation, temperature, substrate, and thickness of the layers. The straightforward nature of testing with the CurinScan means a comprehensive portfolio of data can be established.
Examining the micro-dynamics evolution as a function of temperature also works well when looking at coating types such as powder coating and can help you achieve the best finish and material properties. This information can help enhance formulations as it provides you with a precise understanding of a material’s behavior, ultimately optimizing any manufacturing process.
To find out how you can outperform the competition by refining your curing process, contact us today to see how the CurinScan could be the tool for you.