P2i – a UK defense contractor spin-off – has perfected a new coating process called Ion Mask, which applies a protective layer of polymer onto materials using ionized gas plasma. The result is a nanometre thick coating which repels stains and liquids while still staying breathable, supple and cuddly.
The tech was originally developed to protect soldiers in the field against chemical attack, and the company is now actively marketing it as a quick and easy way to waterproof electronics as well as fabric. The idea of MP3 players, digital cameras and other delicate devices being completely water resistant seems kind of cool, so we’re saying yes, bring it on ex-warfare merchants, let’s get some peace from our dividend.
Ion mask works by applying a protective layer, just nanometres thick, over the entire surface of the product by means of an ionised gas or “plasma”. The layer is molecularly bound to the surface and will not leach away, endowing it with ultra low surface energy values down to one third that of PTFE (Teflon). The treated surface becomes highly water and oil repellent, displaying significant advantages ranging from reduced adsorption of protein materials in laboratory disposables through to making running shoes water resistant yet breathable without the use of a membrane technology.