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Sbir Phase Ii: Scratch And Abrasion Resistant Superhydrophobic Polymer Coatings


<p>This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will leverage the advances we made in fabricating flexible polymer surfaces that shed water at low tilt angles while remaining superhydrophobic after abrasion. In Phase I we developed a model which correlated surface morphology with mechanical robustness. In Phase II we will apply this model to the development of a processes compatible with high speed, large-scale fabrication techniques. The roofing industry seeks material that is self-cleaning, anti-fouling and is highly resistant to weather events over time. A durable, superhydrophobic polymeric roof membrane will meet this market need. Commercial success depends on (1) qualifying production speeds up to 100feet/min, (2) proving compliance to current product requirements and (3) showing value-add. Phase II studies will elucidate the mechanisms that contribute to the stability of the surfaces when exposed to UV light, allowing us to improve weather ability. Having demonstrated the self-cleaning properties of our polymer surfaces in Phase I, we will focus on anti-fouling properties in Phase II (i.e. low bacterial adhesion and reduced algae growth.)The broader impact of this SBIR Phase II project will be twofold. Foremost, a direct impact will be revenue and job growth in the US manufacturing sector. Secondarily, the technology will support federal policy goals on energy and the environment. Approximately $40 billion is spent annually in the US to air condition buildings. DOE funded studies show that in warm climates, substituting a cool roof for a conventional roof can reduce carbon emissions which drive climate change. Cool roofs also relieve strain on the electrical grid by reducing peak power demand. Widespread use of cool roofs can improve air quality, hence human health, by slowing the formation of smog. Superhydrophobic polymer membranes fabricated using technology developed in this proposal will help keep roofs clean and better able to reflect heat. Furthermore, coating of outdoor infrastructure equipment, such as wind turbine blades and offshore energy exploration platforms, will enable the safe operation of such facilities during icing conditions due to the ability of the superhydrophobic surface to prevent ice accretion. Field-tests are underway. Food handling equipment will benefit from reduced adhesion of bacteria to surfaces, thus improving food safety.</p>

Kujan, Elizabeth H
ARL Designs LLC
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