Cost-effective process developed for production of super-hydrophobic plastic surfaces

Micro channels embedded in plastics and metals can prevent water from sticking to the surface, improving the performance of an array of medical, electronic and other devices. Researchers at Purdue University claim to have developed a viable manufacturing process to create these tiny channels to repel water or minimize flow resistance. “There is no other current technology available for creating internal hydrophobic surfaces for micro channels in a cost-effective way,” said Yung Shin, the Donald A. and Nancy G. Roach Professor of Advanced Manufacturing in the Purdue University College of Engineering.

Hydrophobic material from Purdue UniversityShin’s team uses a two-step process to create the super-hydrophobic surfaces. First, patterns or features are created on a metal surface with an ultra-fast laser. Then the same pattern is produced on a polymer via transfer molding.

“The technology has many potential applications, especially in the biomedical and electronics industries,” Shin said. “It provides more effective cooling options than conventional methods and helps reduce the overall size of biosensors and other medical devices that use circulating fluid to detect unhealthy conditions in a patient.”

Shin and his team are working with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the device. They are also seeking additional research partners and invite interested parties to contact them.

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