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Ion Mask - Plasma Coating Waterproofs Electronics, Fabrics

Ion Mask is a new coating process perfected by P2i; a protective layer of polymer is deposited onto materials using ionized gas plasma. The result: a coating just a few molecules thick that repels liquids but also lets the protected material remain flexible.

P2i uses pulses of radio frequency energy to activate a vapor of special precursor chemicals which combine as polymers and bind to the surface of the protected item.

The advantage of using a plasma process to deposit polymers onto surfaces is that the precursor molecules in the plasma can infuse any porous or complex object on a sub-microscopic scale. In an item of clothing, for example, every fiber is given a layer of oil and water repellent polymer only molecules thick. Depositing such thin layers of polymer during processing means that ... much greater control is possible.

This amazing coating reminds me of the science fictional coating used in Clifford Simak's wonderful 1963 novel Way Station to protect the galactic way station and its keeper on Earth. It covered an entire small country house:

It was as if the knob was covered with some hard, slick coating, like a coat of brittle ice, on which the fingers slipped wihout exerting any pressure on the knob...

There was something covering this house which made it slick and smooth - so smooth that dust could not cling upon its surface nor could weather stain it.
(Read more about Clifford Simak's frictionless coating)

Via Ion Mask Plasma Coating; see also the P2i Ion Mask website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/11/2007)

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