Journey on making more durable and stronger paint.

Hello there!

Welcome to my first post!  My journey on making more durable and stronger paint starts from here!  My name is Hae Seong Kim.  I am a rising Senior and a chemistry Major.


The goal of my project

The goal of my project, as a big picture, is to make stronger and more durable paint to water degradation. How?  By incorporating this amazing material called “Graphene Oxide” into paint.  The basic idea of how to make paint durable is simple:  by putting strengthening agent into paint, make paint stronger.  Here, strengthening agent will be Graphene Oxide.

This image by James Hedberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

To tell you how Graphene Oxide strengths paint, I need to tell you what Graphene Oxide is.  Graphene Oxide is a functionalized or modified Graphene.  What is Graphene? Graphene is the second strongest material exists in the world. Yes, second STRONGEST material in the world.  Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal or a honeycomb pattern.  It is only single-atom thick but its strength is 300 times stronger than steel, has 200times better conductivity than silicon and has the best impermeability ever discovered that even prevents transmission of Helium atoms.

Graphene is the “wonder” material of today!  Two properties of Graphene that are focused are its mechanical strength and impermeability.  Recall from the basic idea of how to make paint stronger, putting Graphene Oxide into paint is, in fact, hoping to incorporate/add those two properties of Graphene into paint.    In other words, by putting a strong and impermeable material, make paint strong and impermeable!   Sounds great but there is a problem:   Graphene is hydrophobic–it does not like to interact with water so it does not like to mix with paint.  Paint used for this project is Polyacrylic which is the key component of the acrylic paints you probably have used for drawing.  Why use polyacrylic resin? Because it is common and crucial paint in the paint industry.  So, in order to make Graphene to mix well with paint, you modify Graphene into Graphene Oxide which is more hydrophilic or water-loving so GO would disperse well in paint.   OK, Graphene Oxide would mix with paint, but you may question how does incorporating Graphene Oxide make the paint more resistant to water degradation?  What is the mechanism behind the increase in durability?   Rate of Water degradation or hydrolytic degradation generally corresponds to how much water a material contains.  The more water a material contains, the faster the hydrolytic degradation in general.  Thanks to impermeability of Graphene Oxide, paint with graphene oxide would have less water absorption rate thus it would have slower hydrolytic degradation.   Some literatures have reported that as great as reduction by 50% water absorption observed.    My short-term goals are first, to create paint with evenly dispersed Graphene Oxide and second, to get reduction in water absorption by 50% or closer.

Wish me good luck!


  1. cleath12 says:

    Cool Project! I’ve heard about this material and how the military is working on incorporating it into their armor. I’m wondering how you can measure paint degradation over time. You would have to use a control in natural settings (paint that is naturally exposed to water/rain) to compare the graphene oxide paint with. Otherwise, I like the idea and I’m interested to see what you come up with!

  2. emparrish says:

    I really enjoy science that is focused on a tangible goal and it seems as if your project really encompasses this idea. I do wonder what specific applications this can have, however, aside from the standard home and product painting. Also, with the ramifications that have over time emerged from materials that paint has been made of (ie. lead, etc.) if there are heath effects of Graphene Oxide individually or once incorporated into paint. All in all, I am excited to see how this project affects material science!

  3. Hi Hae Seong,

    This sounds pretty cool! Improving an existing material (paint) with chemistry is something I am interested in, and even though what you are doing sounds simple, the actual research and applications are sure to be difficult. Hopefully it has gone well for you, and I am excited to hear the results of your research!