Coatings and surfacesThe Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC

The surface of a product often determines its durability and ability to function correctly when in use. This is where environmental factors have the greatest and most immediate impact, frequently causing damage to components and degradation as a result of mechanical (friction and wear), thermal (ageing), electrochemical (corrosion), and light-induced (UV exposure) processes. For this reason, significant research efforts are being devoted to the development of efficient surface protection systems based on special coatings and other means of improving the functionality of surfaces.

Nanotechnology-based chemical methods (e.g. sol-gel and hydrothermal processes or mini-emulsion polymerization) are a major focus of the materials research activities at Fraunhofer ISC. Inorganic and hybrid materials are produced from low-molecular-weight precursors by means of hydrolysis and condensation reactions involving an intermediate phase in which they are converted into nanoscale particles. The advantage of this approach is that it permits the development of low-cost coating processes that increase the value of conventional products, such as:

  • scratch-resistant plastic surfaces,
  • decorative tinting and anti-reflective coatings for glasses,
  • barrier coatings for plastic films,
  • corrosion protection for metal surfaces, and
  • hydrophobic and easy-to-clean surfaces for every kind of surface

In addition to the chemical synthesis of passive protective coatings, these methods are also increasingly being used to produce active surfaces by integrating nanoparticles in complex, hybrid material systems for use in:

  • photochromic and electrochromic systems
  • oxygen-scavenging high-barrier films
  • self-healing anticorrosion coatings
  • thin-film sensors and active catalytic filters
  • environmental monitoring by means of glass and light dosimetry



Dr. Klaus Rose

Head of competence unit

Hybrid Coatings and Coating Technology

Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC

Friedrichstr. 10a
97082 Würzburg

Phone: +49 931 4100-626
Fax: +49 931 4100-698