Copper coating of particles offers a potential alternative to the more expensive silver alternative for low density conductive fillers. Copper has very similar heat and electrical conductance properties to that of silver at a fraction of the base metal cost and without the toxicity issues associated with nickel. However, the passivation effect seen with nickel is also present in copper coated preparations, and has a significant effect on the longevity of the conductive properties of these coated particles.
In a similar fashion to nickel, it may be possible to add components or protective layers to the metallic copper coating to extend the useful lifetime of the product without significantly impacting on the conductive efficiency.
There are opportunities for copper coated particles with respect to inclusion in antifouling paints for marine applications, however, the changing legislation with regard to anti-fouling compounds and their environmental safety profile has caused a move away from copper based additives for this application in recent years.
There is no significant intellectual property associated with this technology. The established copper coating processes are ready for scale-up or adaptation to customer specifications when required.