Natural hybrid nanopigment synthesis for multiple industrial applications by The University of Alicante

The University of Alicante research group in vision and colour develops a novel procedure for obtaining natural nanopigments which are harmless to humans

These nanopigments provide increased resistance and a wide colour range in products including cosmetics, footwear, construction materials, furniture or toys, among many others


The University of Alicante research group in vision and colour has developed a novel procedure for obtaining natural hybrid nanopigments able to optimise the optical, thermal and mechanical properties of the composite materials they are applied to. These new nanopigments allow full control of properties such as the amount of dye adsorbed, the degradation temperature of the dye or final composite material, flexural  strength, resistance to UV degradation, transparency or colour strength, among others.

To that end, the experts employ nanoclays which are completely natural, harmless to humans, and obtained from minerals, such as montmorillonite, for cosmetics, or hydrotalcite, employed in drugs as a stomach acid scavenger. “Depending on the property of the material to be enhanced, the most suitable nanoclays and additives are selected for synthesis, as well as the order in which they are added,” UA researchers Bàrbara Micó and Francisco M. Martínez-Verdú explain.

The innovation, already patented, is a revolution for several industrial sectors, as it makes it possible to obtain materials with advanced properties and a high resistance to physical agents such as solar radiation, temperature, rubbing in clothes, etc. It also reduces costs as it is a synthesis (mixing) process conducted at room temperature with basically two ingredients: a dye and a nanoclay, both natural.

In this regard, the nanopigments obtained are able to increase the optical, thermal and mechanical resistance of many products, including printing inks, paints, colouring of functional bioplastics using 3D printing for car interiors, synthetic or natural fibres, ceramics, paper, toys, footwear, cosmetics or food packages, as well as in materials employed in the construction, textile, wood, furniture, stone or marble industries.

“With these nanopigments, for instance, the colour of furniture or construction materials becomes more resistant in outdoor areas directly exposed to natural light,” Ms Micó explains. In cosmetics like make-up or lipstick, “it is possible to achieve greater durability and a broader range of colours if mixed with other pigments,” as pointed out by Mr Martínez-Verdú.

Further information


Resins of biodegradable polymer with nanopigments from natural dyes: chlorophyll, betanin (beetroot) and beta-carotene



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