Solving problems you have or initiate new innovations can lead down quite different paths. Sometimes the urge to get rid of a problem can lead to many quick decisions, but what should one really look for in these types of situations? Should your standard tool box of problem solvers be used, or do you have the opportunity to focus on upgrading this box? In this blog post, I will try to show you some concrete examples why adding new tools to your tool box can improve your functionalities beyond your scope, using the microfibrillated cellulose as an example. Simply, why new functionality beats substitution.
Innovation opportunities through multifunctionality
Multifunctionality is a buzzword these days. The search for new technologies that can deliver additional effect to systems is intriguing.
I just attended the European Coatings Show in Nürnberg (Germany), and walking around looking at all the functionalities delivered there can be overwhelming. The field of coating is developing towards a higher use of water borne systems for sure, and focus is currently on how to get these systems to perform better. This is a wide subject for sure, but looking into the MFC in this context can be quite interesting.
The reason why, is that the MFC can deliver more functionalities than one. Yeah sure, I have heard that before, you might think, but the key here is actually how it can deliver functionalities in very different areas. Let’s stop for a moment and imagine you have the current problems:
- Settling of particles in your formulation
- Problems with cracks in your finished coating film
These two problems seem fairly far apart, and may need two different angles of approach to be handled. But this is actually where I experience that a product like MFC can help you shift your focus to some extent. Or even better: let you solve two problems with one product. The reason why is simple. MFC is a three-dimensional, non-soluble network of cellulose microfibrils. These fibrils stabilize your pigments and other particles physically in your formulation. At the same time, the fibers high ability to hold water and control open time when drying can help to decrease the amount of cracking taking place. Thus, as soon as the water has evaporated and the coating is dried the number of cracks in the surface can be greatly reduced. The physical fibers from MFC also play a part, where they can act as a reducer of stress while the coating dries. If you would like to read more on why mud-cracks appear in coatings, AkzoNobel has made a great presentation on the subject.
So, these two functionalities gives a coating with improved stability at rest, while at the same time allowing you to reduce issues with cracking in the coating surface.
> Interested in more information on anti-cracking? Read our blog post on why using MFC in coatings
In my view, one needs to keep the mind open to new additions to the toolbox. The world of additives is developing, and by providing new product characteristics, examples like the MFC can provide rheology, strength, barrier properties and processability improvements.
> Looking for more pH independent additives? Read our blog post on MFC and pH stability
And just to throw out a last thought: struggling with blistering while coating thick layers? Why not take a look at what MFC can offer here. Clue: start your search on our blog post on barrier properties of MFC.