A team of researchers from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University has developed a safe and effective coating that can be used for waterproofing consumer products.

Derived from a combination of organosilanes — which are monomeric silicone-based chemicals — water and an industrial solvent, the coating is reportedly less expensive than current coatings on the market, which also feature highly flammable fluorinated compounds.

The hydrophobic properties of the coating were demonstrated in the lab, where droplets easily rolled off of materials such as fabric, aluminum and wood treated with the coating. According to the developers, objects treated with coating were waterproof for 18 months and more, and maintained their waterproof properties even under harsh environmental conditions.

The team envisions using the coating for a host of applications such as: waterproofing consumer products like clothing, umbrellas and raincoats; antibiofouling; stain resistant products; anti-icing products; water-repelling paint; construction materials; and membranes for oil and water separation.

The coating, which is detailed in the journal Nature Communications, is also described in the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Simon Fraser University.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com