Typically, a hydrophobic coating is achieved by surface modification, using treatments that involve adherence, absorption or coating of micro- or nanostructures. These coatings work in biomimetic ways, where they mimic the mechanism of naturally hydrophobic occurrences, such as lotus leaves, rose petals and duck feathers. The hydrophobic properties can be explained by two types of wetting behaviours called the Wenzel state or Cassie state, which rely on surface roughness or air pocket formation to boost hydrophobic properties.
This coating technology offers not only hydrophobic properties, but also self-cleaning, UV-blocking, and antifogging properties. Its ability to be applied to a variety of substrates offers the potential for a wide range of uses.
Technology Features & Specifications
This coating is made from titanium-based precursors that are hydrolysed into a titanium sol, which is an oxide form of titanium. A thin coating of the titanium sol is then applied to the substrate by dipping or spraying, with the potential of using other application processes. This is followed by an ambient or oven drying process. As a result, a titanium nanomolecular microstructure is formed on the surface of the substrate. The titanium sol coating on the surface will change the surface energy and surface roughness to give the hydrophobicity, self-cleaning, UV-blocking and anti-fogging properties.
Other features of the coating include:
- Coating can be applied to a variety of different surfaces, such as textiles, wood, paper, metal, ceramic, glass, fibre and polymer surfaces
- Coating can be made temporary or permanent by the exclusion or inclusion of an adhesion promoter
- Shows good hydrophobicity even with dilution up to 500 times
- Durability of the coating can be improved with an adhesion promoter
The coating is versatile and offers the potential to target multiple markets including these sectors:
- Automotive: The coating can be used on a variety of car parts including the exterior body, mirrors, and windows which prevents the car from "raindrop" stain effects, providing clearer views, with added benefits like UV protection and longevity.
- Furniture: A hydrophobic coating can ensure that it is protected against humidity and wetness, which can cause undesirable staining and even rotting.
- Apparel: A hydrophobic coating to repel water can be added to rain jackets or textiles such as cotton, nylon, and polyester.
Market Trends and Opportunities
- Automotive: According to Autocare Association, the US automotive aftermarket is worth over US$273.4 billion.
- Furniture: The global furniture market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.27% during the period 2017 to 2021 (Research and Markets, "Global Furniture Market 2017-2021"). An estimated 60% of household furniture are made out of wood.
- Apparel: The apparel market is set to reach US$992 billion in value by 2021, with an increase of 26.2% increase since 2016, according to research by Marketline.
The benefits of this hydrophobic coating include:
- Quick start to finish, within 6 hours
- Precipitation of the coating does not occur, unlike other available coatings
- Does not require surface energy lowering agents such as perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane (PFTDS)
- Longer lasting for coating on furniture, as compared to stains, waxes, paints, and oils which erode rapidly with vigorous use, due to the close chemical interactions between the hydrophobic coating and the surface
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