Protective coatings are coverings that are intended to provide a layer of protection from anything that could damage the function or integrity of an item. The application of a surface coating is common with a number of different products, ranging from electrical wiring to printed labels. The coatings are also helpful in preventing rust or enhancing the function of the product, as in the case of coated cookware.
One of the most common examples of protective coatings is electrical wiring. The wires that actually carry the flow of current are covered with polymer coatings designed to contain power generated by the wires. At the same time, the coating protects the wires from exposure to any outside element that could cause a short or corrode the wires.
Along with wiring, cookware featuring non-stick surfaces are another example of protective coatings found in the home. Using coatings such as Teflon&Reg;, food does not stick to the cooking surface on pans or pots. This quality helps to prolong the life of the cookware while also helping the process of cleaning up after preparing a meal less difficult.
Metal coatings are often applied to the surface of metal plates or sheets that are intended for outdoor use. The thin polymer coating is often clear and not easily detectable to the naked eye. However, the coating can go a long way in limiting oxidation on the surface of metals such as tin or aluminum, while also functioning as an anti-rust agent. Roofs and fencing made with metals are often treated with some type of coating in order to maintain appearance and also ensure the products last for longer periods of time.
There are even examples of protective coatings found with printed products. One example is the pressure sensitive address label. A thin coating serves to keep the information on the label clear and legible during transit from a vendor to a recipient. Documents such as restaurant menus and other printed materials that are handled a great deal are likely to be coated with some type of laminating agent, making it easier to clean smudges or other elements from the surface.
In all instances, the main function of protective coatings is to allow a product to remain in good condition for a prolonged period of time. The coatings make it possible for many products to last longer than would be possible if no coating was applied. While usually not impervious, protective coatings tend to hold up very well to normal use.