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Engineering Materials
Drop Your Phone in the Sink – We Dare You
1/29/2013

UK-based P2i has developed a waterproof nano-coating that protects smartphones such as the Alcatel One Touch, and Motorola's RAZR and XOOM. We think the company should develop the technology for consumers who want to apply it to the devices they already own.   (Source: P2i)
UK-based P2i has developed a waterproof nano-coating that protects smartphones such as the Alcatel One Touch, and Motorola's RAZR and XOOM. We think the company should develop the technology for consumers who want to apply it to the devices they already own.
(Source: P2i)

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3drob
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Platinum
Re: Excellent Application!
3drob   1/30/2013 1:08:12 PM
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Battar, according to your statement, Asbestos is perfectly safe. 

Nano materials do amazing things BECAUSE of their odd (non-intuitive) behavior, so any statement that they are safe is pure, unsubstantiated speculation.  They are already finding bad health effects and environmental concerns for nano materials and the waste produced in their manufacturing.  Perhaps not another "Love Canal", but who knows?

Perhaps an interesting related side question is:  If they are hydrophobic, how do they react to fats and oils (as contained in human skin)?

Jennifer Campbell
User Rank
Gold
Re: Excellent Application!
Jennifer Campbell   1/30/2013 1:27:36 PM
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This is a great idea - I'm surprised it hasn't come to market sooner. I, for one, could have used this a few years back, when my phone was drowned by the vigorous waves of the Atlantic ocean - blanket too close to the shoreline .... do the math. Of course, it will really be imressive when the technology is made and can be applied to your existing cell phone. Ann, any word from the company on that development?

D. Sherman
User Rank
Silver
Re: Interesting but?
D. Sherman   1/30/2013 1:32:32 PM
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I agree with every word of what eafpres wrote. They lost me when they claimed that the coating can never wear off and that it doesn't change the electrical properties of anything. All coatings wear off unless they're extremely hard (e.g. diamaond or SiC), in which case they're hard to deposit, hard to bond, and too brittle for use on even slightly flexible substrates. As for not changing the electrical properties, that means that the coating must "know", based on where it lands, whether it ought to be an insulator or a conductor. That, of course, is impossible.

Furthermore, once moisture gets inside an electronic device, it takes a very long time to get out. That gives it plenty of time to work mischief while it's in there. To really waterproof a camera or cell phone, it's necessary to keep water from getting in. If merely coating the PCBs was sufficient, there are plenty of good conformal coatings that will do that.

My impression is that what happened here is some chemist developed a neat way to put thin hydrophobic coatings on lots of materials, and then let his marketing guy loose with the idea. The marketing guy thought to himself "what's a large market of products that are familiar to the general public that could benefit from waterproofing?", and of course his answer was "cell phones". Unfortunately he knows nothing about electronics or even about manufacturing processes.

SparkyWatt
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Platinum
Re: Excellent Application!
SparkyWatt   1/30/2013 1:35:23 PM
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Something that is molecularly bonded can't be peeled off, but ordinary wear takes the surface off anything.  How many computer keys have you seen that have become smooth and shiny with age?  I am sure that a plastic layer a few nanometers thick is not going to survive any process that takes micrometers off its substrate.  Ordinary wear will take this stuff off in very short order.  The only things that will remain protected are those that are not subject to wear.

Of course, that is much of the inside of any device.

What does this stuff do to battery contacts and pushbuttons?  Is it thin enough to keep its interference to a few milliohms?

yalc
User Rank
Iron
Waterproofing for Existing Devices
yalc   1/30/2013 2:55:48 PM
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This process is already available for existing devices.  See http://www.popsci.com/bown/2012/product/liquipel or liquipel.com.  I'm not affiliated.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Excellent Application!
Ann R. Thryft   1/30/2013 3:18:13 PM
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This coating is applied via a plasma-enhanced vapor deposition process. Similar processes are used in semiconductor manufacturing.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Excellent Application!
NadineJ   1/30/2013 5:38:51 PM
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Yes, Dave Palmer, I agree.  I wasn't suggesting that this process could be marketed as "anti-cancer".  I was putting the idea out there.  It's a market that's waiting for the right product/attention. 

The evidence isn't as weak as those in CE claim though.  I'm sure it's not just cell phones placed in bras that has caused increased breast cancer in very young women.  What I listended to on Pacifca radio was very compelling and gave good evidence that cell phones aren't entirely benign.

But, is there anything that's completely safe today?

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Excellent Application!
Charles Murray   1/30/2013 6:17:15 PM
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I would define immersion as being under water for a few seconds. Dropping it in a bath tub full of water or in the toilet (as one reader described) would be an example. Can this technology withstand that? My guess would be no, because any connection to the outside world would take in water. Right?

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Excellent Application!
Tim   1/30/2013 9:41:40 PM
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I guess that this is the difference between water resistant and water proof. I have had a few watches that could have benefited from this technology.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Excellent Application!
jmiller   1/30/2013 9:44:45 PM
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I do too. But Will I still be able to open up the back so I can pull out the battery when it locks up?

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