HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Dripping off cleverly

Polymer foam makes is water-repellent and is resistant to abrasion

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Exhibitor

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Exhibitor details
Exhibitor details
Logo Dripping off cleverly

Product description

Water seems to automatically drip off the leaves of the lotus plant. This is known as the lotus effect, and it is due to the special surface character of the lotus leaves. Minute structures encapsulating air influence surface tension in a manner that makes liquids drip off. This water-repellent property would be an advantage in a wide range of applications, e.g. in the automobile or outdoor areas - for example as protection against moisture or watery impurities. Existing industrial solutions mimic the characteristic surface structure technically. Here, etching or reforming structures the material, or a structure is built with nanoparticles. In both cases, the structure is only formed in the upper layer of the material. The disadvantage is that mechanical stress can easily destroy the surface structure, so that the lotus effect then disappears. Scientists at the KIT Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) have developed a water-repellent coating based on Fluoropor that can withstand abrasion considerably longer. The novel nanostructured plastic foam Fluoropor is created by the polymerisation of a liquid, highly fluorinated monomer exposed to UV light. A so-called pore former is provided as an additive targeted at disturbing polymerisation. Once the pore former has evaporated or been washed out, at the points it has affected, evenly distributed cavities remain in the polymer foam. Thanks to this consistent porous structure, even when abrasion occurs, the repellent property remains until all of the material has been worn away. Fluoropor is polymerised directly on the substrate that is to be coated, so that chemical bonding develops between the material and the foam layer. After a final drying process, the water repellent is ready for application. Fluoropor can be used for a wide range of materials, for example for textiles, ceramics, glass, metal or plastic, and it is also transparent and bendable. This opens up numerous opportunities to apply the coating.

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Hall 2, Stand B16

(Main stand)

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