Specialty Chemicals, Adhesives & Plastics
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Aculon's repellency treatment technology bonds with many different surfaces at the nano-scale to create easy-clean, superhydrophobic (water-repelling) and oleophobic (oil repelling), anti-smudge coatings. These coatings are currently being used on metals, polymers, glass, and many other materials for numerous applications
Clients often find the word "superhydrophobic" and then ask if our products will meet their requirements. The answer is that this would depend on what your expectations are for performance and durability. From our experience, we don't think it is a fit to our technology, but before we decide that, let me ask you some questions that will help us get to that point. Then we can determine for ourselves.
This is critical to understand what tech options are available to consider. For surfaces such as porcelain, there is not an oxide containing surface, so you need a method to apply a durable treatment and then we are limited to short lifetime options due to this. Most often, customers do not want to reapply on a daily/weekly basis.
This is critical to determining if there is a technology in our portfolio of products. If customers want a super hydrophobic (150°+), it can be applied but it is not an easy application for very large surfaces (reapplication needed would be tedious and frequent). Also any superhydrophobic that can be applied (including competitive materials we are aware of as well) is extremely fragile and sensitive, usually only acceptable for one-time use applications or where frequent re-application is acceptable. Often times people say "superhydrophobic" but a regular hydrophobic of 120° will meet the need when permanency is needed, so we try to gather clarification on what is really required.
Customers often want a certain level of durability in the magnitude of months, years, or possibly the life of the product. Even for hydrophobic applications on an oxide surface where we can apply a more robust coating, flooring is just a poor application due to the level of aggressive abrasion and wear seen. Also for outdoor applications a majority of our treatments are UV sensitive and quickly break down in sunlight. So again an important consideration.
Details here give us an idea of how long the coating can be reasonably expected to last.
Spray, dip, wipe, printing. Answers to this question helps to focus in on options when multiple routes are feasible.
This helps us to determine urgency, and also how soon we can expect to see a return on our time investment.
Is this a commercial or research project? It is good to gather whether this is for a one-off project, or for a company in production.
This helps us to understand if they have funds for qualification/optimization work
Applications that are typically low value, with high expectations often fall outside our core competencies which rather focus on applications that have a high value to the proposed solution
While our Repellency treatments are great for their application fields there are some common misunderstandings for Superhydropobics that we would like to address
Superhydrophobic (WCA 150°+) durability
We can not offer this in general for any application. Any superhydrophobic we have is essentially one time use with regards to durability. The real question is "Is really a superhydrophobic needed or a hydrophobic will do"?
We only have hydrophobic surface treatments. We do not have any formulary additives for making a formulation (coating, adhesive, asphalt, etc) hydrophobic. Our only additives are for adhesion applications. We can only serve you if surface treatment after the fact is possible.
Our hydrophobic treatments are predominantly UV sensitive and would not survive the UV exposure for long. On the same note if there's a lot of contact and abrasion it is unlikely that our treatments will meet long lifetime expectations.