Junior High Hydrophobic Coatings Presentation

Aerospace Applications in
Updated September 2011
What Are The Uses of
Hydrophobic Coatings?
Updated September 2011
Hydrophobic (adj):
resistant to or avoiding
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Hydrophobic properties have been seen in nature since
the beginning of time. Water droplets falling onto plant
leaves roll off the leaves as seen in the photo below.
cc by Ralph P.
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In this artist’s rendering, we
see that the surface of leaves
have small hair-like strands
that are covered with a waxy
substance. This keeps the
water droplets from absorbing
into the leaf.
cc by William Thielicke
Updated September 2011
Scientists today are able to simulate the natural
hydrophobic properties using nanotechnology. By
applying a thin coating of hydrophobic substances, we
are able to create surfaces that are water-resistant. The
glasses below have been treated with a hydrophobic
product from Aculon, Inc.
Images ©Aculon
Before treatment
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After treatment
cc by Andrew Cannon
The graphic on the left shows that
the solid on which the liquid is laid is
non-hydrophobic, the middle
graphic is hydrophobic, and the
graphic on the right shows super
Hydrophobic leaf with a water
droplet rolling off the surface.
cc by Michael Apel
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Hydrophobic coatings are being used in many different
•Wood construction
•Monument protection
•Automobile windshields
•Graffiti cleanup
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Graffiti Cleanup
The effort to clean up graffiti
around the world costs over a
billion dollars annually.
Companies such as
Advanced Graffiti Solutions”
are developing and using
products made using
nanotechnology to treat walls
and buildings so graffiti can
simply be wiped off.
Updated September 2011
cc by Sry85
Products such as spray coatings and paint have been
developed to treat structures so the graffiti can be wiped
off with little effort. The coating adheres to the stone or
cement and does not allow the graffiti materials to attach
to the wall. Follow the link below for videos showing the
products at work.
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Water Resistant Coating
Many companies, such as Turtle Wax, have
developed a wax that adheres to the surface of a
car and makes the paint completely resistant to
environmental contaminants.
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Monument Protection
Much of the damage to protected
monuments around the world is
caused by weather. Using
nanotechnology, a protective
coating can be applied to the
monuments to protect them from
the elements. Nanotechnology
prevents water from seeping into
the crevices and freezing to cause
cracks and damage.
cc by Luis Garcia
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Wood Protection
Wood, when sprayed with a protective coating, will not burn.
In the pictures, the board on the right is burning. The board
on the left looks to be charred, but the charring scrapes off
with ease.
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A nano protective coating also makes wood water-resistant.
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Windshield Protection
Chemsultants International has developed a coating that is
applied to a windshield. With the coating, the surface
becomes resistant to environmental elements.
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Hydrophobic coatings using nanotechnology are helping
in the aerospace industry by making airplane wings
resistant to water and ice coatings. Many airplane
crashes have been attributed to ice on the wings before
and during flight.
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Image courtesy Purdue
In this classroom activity, we will simulate how a
hydrophobic coating applied to the wings of a gliders
will affect its flight.
Using balsa wood
materials and
instructions, build
two identical gliders.
Image by HighPoint Learning
Updated September 2011
Image by HighPoint Learning
On one of the gliders, spray at least five coats of a
protective coating, allowing the wood to dry in
between coats.
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Images by HighPoint Learning
After spraying the gliders, weigh each glider with a
digital gram scale. Notice there is only a small difference
in the weight.
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Sprinkle water on both wings of each glider, and then place
them in the freezer and leave overnight.
After 24 hours, take the gliders out of the freezer and
immediately launch them. Observe the difference between
their flights.
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This module is one of a series designed to introduce faculty and high school
students to the basic concepts of nanotechnology. Each module includes a
PowerPoint presentation, discussion questions, and hands-on activities, when
The series was funded in part by:
The National Science Foundation
Grant DUE-0702976
and the
Oklahoma Nanotechnology Education Initiative
Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the
material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Science Foundation or the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Education Initiative.
Updated September 2011
Image Credits
P., Ralf. (Photographer). Lotus Effect [Photograph]. Switzerland. Wikimedia Commons.
Thielicke, William. (Artist). Lotus3.jpg [Computer rendering]. Germany. Wikimedia Commons.
Cannon, Andrew H. (Designer). Microstruct superhydrophobic.png [diagram]. Wikimedia Commons.
Apel, Michael. (Photographer). Dew drop on a leaf [Photograph]. Wikimedia Commons.
Sry85 (Photographer). Tagging in Thailand. [Photograph]. Thailand. Wikimedia Commons.
Garcia, Luis (Photographer). Monumento a Fray Pedro Ponce [Photograph of Monument]. Spain. Wikimedia
Commons (commons.wikimedia.org)
Wing Icing [Photograph]. United States. Aviation Educaton Multimedia Library
Updated September 2011
Chandler, David. (2010). Frost-Free Planes: Back to the Drawing Board. MIT News. Retrieved from
Samyn, P., Schoukens, G. Van den Abbeele, H., Vonck, L., Stanssens, D. (2010). Application of polymer nanoparticle
coating for tuning the hydrophobicity of cellulosic substrates. Journal of Coatings Technology and
Research. Issue 1547-0091. Pages 1-11.]
Seung-Mo Lee and Tai Hun Kwon. Mass-producible replication of highly hydrophobic surfaces from plant leaves.
NanoWerk. Retrieved from http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=644.php
Wilson, Michael, Kanangara, Kamali, Smith, Geoff, Simmons, Michelle, & Raguse, Burkhard. Nanotechnology: Basic
Science and Emerging Technologies. (2004). [Kindle Edition] Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com
Updated September 2011

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