Surface chemistry

Surface chemistry and coatings

Our experts understand the chemical interactions at the interface of solids, gases and liquids, and use this knowledge to improve processes, develop new catalyst structures, design separation membranes, enhance biocompatibility and manufacture better components.


Big improvements at a nano scale

To influence the reactions taking place at a surface requires knowledge of atom sizes and positions, chemical bonds, molecular interactions, local surface compositions and charges, and properties of crystalline or amorphous layers.

We use surface chemistry to improve the effectiveness of many of the products we manufacture. In catalysis, our knowledge of surface chemistry enables us to produce highly active coatings that are carefully adhered onto surfaces, and this has contributed to our leading position in emission control catalysts. Modelling and synthesis of catalyst layers allows us to develop more active and more resource efficient materials.

Our coating laboratories use state of the art methods, combining established and unique coating techniques with specific knowledge of the chemistry of colloids and suspensions, particle size and shape, rheology, formulation and adhesion, to produce durable and functional coatings on flat or complex shapes, using materials ranging from metals to ceramics to polymers. To achieve these complex structures requires excellent knowledge of not just the properties of the active material, but the overall structure that comprises the functional coating, and we base this on a thorough understanding of the surface chemistry of components, binders and additives that make up the coating, and use this to modify the effectiveness and adhesion of the final coating layer.


Putting science into action

Our ability to characterise surfaces and their interactions gives us a unique understanding of the improvements in performance that modifications to a surface can bring. We work with materials to improve durability, reactivity, porosity, adhesion and biocompatibility, while delivering even and consistent layers. These properties make a real difference to performance in, for example, harsh environments such as aerospace and high temperature combustion catalysis, and we have tailored products to cope with different ambient environments – developing tarnish resistant conductive inks that can be used in polluted cities.

Applying this capability means we can offer state-of-the-art coating technologies and surface solutions to enhance the performance of products to meet quality control standards – offering you a product or process that is reliable, fast, precise, durable and economic in applications such as emission control, batteries, medical components, electronics, turbine blades, chemical processing, conducting inks, and glass coatings. 

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Building the battery of the future – today

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Lab testing


The crucial ingredient of our success for more than 200 years

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