Silica particles have been known for decades. They have and are being used as additives in paints for example, to make them thixotropic.
Other applications include anti-soiling, increasing friction (in floor coatings), coagulating agent, fining agent for wines & juices (in liquid form), polished concrete etc.
The Stöber process is a way to produce silica particles that have a very controlled and uniform size. This is important in not just controlling thixotropic and other colloidal features, but also the uniform size is needed for making various catalysts, aerogels and chromatography columns.
The particles are usually produced in an alcohol solution, hence the product category SMS (Stöber Methylated Silica), and are produced in a range of particle sizes dependent on the requirement. Other attributes include:
• The particles are present as primary particles not aggregates or agglomerates
• They can react with silanes, silazanes and other reactive ligands (unlike other silica formulations)
• The low water content of the suspension enables water sensitive ligands (so can be suspended in alcohol)
• The SMS particles are porous, and have larger surface areas than fully dense materials
A young UK company holds a global exclusive license for, and has developed further, the Stöber process so as to make it more viable economically.
The company offers a range of sizes and also bespoke products with regards to surface properties. In the chemical process, finely controlled pores will be introduced that can be loaded or modified further. These modifications lead to self-cleaning, scratchproof and other properties that are gaining popularity in consumer and industrial products.
The UK company has validated the practicality and longevity of such coatings in applications such as photovoltaics, retro-fit solar modules, automotive glass and anti-icing applications within the aerospace industry.
The company is now seeking commercial agreements with technical assistance with manufacturers and formulators of specialist industrial coatings, additive manufacturing, academic and research bodies and paint manufacturing.
The UK company offers technical assistance around modifying and validating the existing range, and partners are encouraged to describe their desired products in a non-confidential way.
The SMS are available off the shelf as they are already applicable in coatings and paints, and developments for other applications such as resins etc.