STTR Phase II: Superhydrophobic Coatings for Water Repelling and Corrosion Control
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will develop a superhydrophobic nanotextured coating that is highly water repelling and anti-corrosive. The coating will be applied to specific hearing aid surfaces (i.e., microphone ports, receiver, joints, battery, and case) to impart a water resistant barrier that repels moisture and other environmental contaminants. Penetration of water into hearing aids from such sources as moisture, sweat, and rain interferes with acoustical performance and causes corrosion, circuitry malfunction and breakdown of the hearing aid. Openings are required for the transfer of sound waves. A seam is located around the battery and the Zinc/air batteries, themselves, cannot be sealed because they require oxygen to function. With all of the open areas and seams in a hearing aid, it is not surprising that water often penetrates into the interior of the hearing aid. Individuals are living longer and healthier lives and they want to be able to hear while they participate in boating, hiking, running, and golfing and other forms of exercise. The water repellent anti-corrosive coating will allow hearing aid manufactures to offer more durable and reliable instruments, that stand up to the rigors of an active life style for the 2.2 million hearing aid users nationwide. The broader/commercial impact project will be more durable hearing aids and that will potentially reduce the costs associated with hearing aid maintenance. Hearing aids are not the only electronic instruments that suffer from active lifestyles and environmental contaminants. Cell phones, earphones, digital cameras, watches, laptops, and other electronic devices could potentially benefit from the water repellent anti-corrosive coating technology.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Innovative Surface Technologies, Inc.
1000 Westgate Drive St. Paul, MN 55114
Number of Employees:
University of Minnesota Corrosion Research Center
200 Oak St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 1046
Nonprofit college or university