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Floor Finish Analysis

November 3, 2020 – Nanodefence® in my floor finish? What’s that?

Coronavirus lockdown has spurred many a home improvement project this year. Did you refinish your hardwood floors? In case you used Varathane Nano Defence® (Canadian product photo at right, French side), you may be wondering — what exactly is the nano part about? And just how many nanoparticles am I getting in this gallon? Well, we measured it using Spectradyne’s own nCS1! (Learn more about how the technology works here).


The floor finish tested in this study.

And for the record, we undertook this test completely independently from Varathane, and received no compensation from the company — we were simply curious!


Particle size distribution in Varathane NanoDefence® floor finish. The particles with mode centered near 75 nm are the aluminum oxide nanoparticles added to the product to impart strength and durability. The secondary population at 150 nm diameter are polystyrene control particles added to the sample before measurement.

The nano part: The particle size distribution in the sample is shown below at right. We found a clear peak in the particle size distribution around 75 nm — these are the aluminum oxide particles that lend the final finish the strength and durability claimed by the manufacturer. Spectradyne can attest to the validity of both these claims after raising children from age zero to five on the floor shown: No significant wear was observed after countless indoor minihockey games.

How many nanoparticles in this gallon? The total particle concentration in the size range spanning 60 to 100 nm diameter was measured to be 5.0 × 1014 particles/mL. That’s a very high concentration, but since the particles are small they don’t scatter light very strongly, and the product has a mostly transparent, slightly milky appearance before application. Incidentally, that these particles are weak light scatterers makes them difficult to detect and quantify by optical methods. In any case, using a conversion factor of 3785 milliliters per gallon… carry the five… we get roughly 1.9 × 1018 particles! Wow! That’s a deal for $75/gal!

This experiment is part of our ongoing EveryDayTM nanoparticles series — read about more nCS1 measurements of commonplace materials here.

Do you have an interesting sample you would like us to measure? We demonstrate our technology to scientists by measuring a couple of samples for free — send us one!

Please continue to follow our blog as we share insights, technical details, and generally geek-out with you about nanoparticle science!

Email us for more information, or to discuss your particular application directly.