Smarter technologies are beginning to move into Filipino households as the Department of Science and Technology ushers in its Smarter Philippines program. In fact, local experts are busying themselves developing technologies for smarter living.

So how about a recently-developed paint that makes your house bright and even rids out dirt and other microbial elements?

Put your brush up to the DOST - Industrial Technology Development Institute’s (DOST-ITDI) self-cleaning paint. The polymer paint is acrylic based and has the ability to prevent water and dirt from seeping into its surface. When applied on a concrete surface, it repels water and dirt, effectively “cleaning” itself.

The self-cleaning paint has titanium oxide and locally sourced silica which when exposed to ultraviolet ray exhibits its photocatalytic property. This means it breaks molecules of emission gases on its surface. This protects the paint from any discoloration due to organic microbes from gas emissions and oils.

It also repels water and lets liquid just flow on its surface without seeping into the paint, consequently carrying dirt such as dust particles, lipophilic dirts, and others.

The paint technology mimics the lotus and gabi plant leaves that have complex structures such that water droplets that land on the surface pick up particles as they flow out, minimizing adhesion of dirt on the leaves. Such characteristic is called the lotus effect.

Through nanotechnology, DOST-ITDI enhances this functional capability as it develops said environment-friendly paint. This innovation also prolongs the luster of the paint. This emerging paint technology is already in the market for some time in some countries. However, the premium price makes it unaffordable to most people.

According to Dr. Araceli Monzada of the Materials Science Division of DOST-ITDI, the locally developed self-cleaning paint will be more affordable than the commercially available paints when it reaches its commercial stage as it uses locally available additives.

The paint technology is expected to cut down annual maintenance costs significantly in buildings which will no longer require annual washing and periodic repainting to retain its luster. In Singapore, the cost of washing a building once a year is at SGD10,000 to SGD50,000 (P330,000 to P1.65M) and in some malls, washing is normally done quarterly. Because of the long retention of the paint’s luster, users save water to be used in washing. The less frequent washing will also minimize surface damages on the buildings caused mainly by strong detergents and high water pressure from water jets.

Currently, the paint is available only in white, but DOST-ITDI is set to develop other colors. Dr. Monzada also added that with the importance of this innovation, the institute plans to design the paint for use in the automotive industry.

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