NanoPhos SA

  • Michal Riha profile
    Michal Riha
    11 September 2020 - updated 8 months ago
Finalist
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Country: 
Greece

What is the innovation?

Consolidants with high affinity for carbonate species for restoration and conservation of concrete-based surfaces.

What problem does the innovation solve?

Building surfaces are damaged by natural erosion because they are exposed to outdoor areas, contaminated with pollutants. Water, sulfate anions and airborne particles are considered to be the most aggressive corrosion agents in building materials. In addition, water promotes the growth of microorganisms and the formation of crust. Structural damage entails high maintenance and restoration costs. Therefore, the development of multifunctional products, combining either stabilizing, hydrophobic, self-cleaning and / or anti-pollution properties is a promising solution in the treatment of building surfaces. The present innovation relates to the method of making calcium nano-oxalate silicates and to their applicability in building blocks. The product acts as a surface protection material for building materials and/or as a material for fixing, reconnecting and surface protecting corroded building materials, and contributes to the improvement of the mechanical strength of building surfaces.

How does the innovation solve the problem?

By synthesizing a crack-free nontoxic impregnation treatment in a one-pot synthesis via the sol-gel method, incorporating nanoparticles of synthesized amorphous calcium oxalate monohydrate in tetraethoxysilane. This material, which is produced by TUC in cooperation with NanoPhos, is a nontoxic strengthening and protective agent. The synthesis includes a simple synthetic route in two steps, to obtain the hybrid nanocomposite consisting of silica and nano calcium oxalate. The product is an innovative inorganic nanocomposite for enhancing the mechanical properties and stabilizing loose and worn building surfaces. The complete absence of organic ingredients and resinous compounds assures long term effectiveness and weathering resistance. Porous and brittle sandstone surfaces will stop dusting. Furthermore, is suitable for restoration purposes, due to the natural and biomimetic character and because it does not modify the aesthetic properties of the substrate.

Is there any other existing cutting edge solution? If so, how does yours differ?

TEOS-based consolidants suffer from some remarkable drawbacks. The main disadvantage of the above products is the production of high values of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the hydrolysis and concentration process, which pose a risk to the environment and human health. In addition, cracks are developed during the sol-gel drying process due to the exerted capillary pressure by the gel network. Furthermore, the inefficient chemical bonding of the silica to the non-silicate substrates may cause inefficient performance of the treatment. Finally, the limited hydrophobicity of these materials, favoring the water ingress at the substrate and the subsequent building decay. Our approach is a material with the following benefits

•Low VOCs

•Easy to apply

•Enhancement of mechanical proprerties of building materials

•Stabilizes loose matter

•Is breathable

•It does not change natural appearance

•Deep penetrating

•Long lasting, weathering resistant

•Long term protection

Tell us about your team?

Since its establishment, NanoPhos SA has been studying, inventing and producing, by harnessing the power of Nanotechnology, intelligent materials to solve everyday problems, from decorative paints that boost energy efficiency in buildings in constructions projects to nano-formulated corrosion inhibitors for industrial applications and anti-fouling coatings for ocean going vessels, aiming effectiveness, eco-friendliness and energy efficiency. NanoPhos SA employs 35 motivated and hardworking people, while the R&D team consists of highly experienced Chemists and Chemical Engineers holding MScs, PhDs and Postdocs. Ten of the employees are females while the rest 25 are males.

How big is the market for this innovation?

5,000,000 €

What EU-funded research project was this innovation developed in?

Project InnovaConcrete.