UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Chemistry professor Ryan Coppage and research student Nathan Dinh are sharing results of their research on creating safer ceramic coatings.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, says the University of Richmond team’s work is at the forefront of this area of study. Their research was chosen as a featured project among a select few out of more than 14,000 presentations. In a news release, ACS called the research "a new 'gold standard' for safer ceramic coatings."

The team was scheduled to present at the ACS National Meeting & Exposition this week, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Coppage and Dinh are instead presenting their results through the ACS SciMeetings online platform.

Coppage and his team have made progress toward a new type of ceramics glaze that includes gold and silver nanoparticles, which are less toxic and more environmentally friendly but still provide artists vibrant colors with which to work.

“Achieving the brightest colors in ceramics has traditionally required using higher amounts of heavy metals such as barium and cadmium, which are potentially harmful ingredients,” explains Coppage, the project’s lead scientist.

Coppage and his team discovered gold and silver nanoparticles have actually been used for centuries and want to implement the historical techniques using modern technology.  

“In medieval times, artisans would grind gold and silver into a fine powder or use gold or silver salts to create vibrantly colored stained glass windows and chalices,” said Dinh.

The team plans to further explore how the firing process changes gold and silver nanoparticles, which will help them fine-tune the resulting colors. They also plan to explore additional metals. Learn more about this research here

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Director of Introductory Laboratories