Winner of this year's BYU Business Plan Competition (see I told you there are some interesting companies coming out of BYU!), Xeromax Science has developed a new waterproofing technology, called Hydrapel, that makes any textile superhydrophobic.
When a drop of water lands on a material, the more the water tends to bead, the more water-resistant or hydrophobic the material. Xeromax has the ability to make any textile superhydrophobic, meaning only a minimal portion of the water droplet touches the fabric.
Xeromax's patent-pending waterproofing technology uses a three step process. First a low temperature plasma treatment is used to etch, clean and oxidize the surface of the textile. This step primes the textile and enables the superhydrophobic coating to become part of the material itself. Next, Xeromax uses a Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process in order to coat the surface of the textile. This step starts with chemical in a vapor form and deposits it onto the surface of the textile, forming an ultra-thin, hydrophobic coating.
Finally, Xeromax incorporates the use of an adhesion promoter, allowing for an even thinner layer (nanometers thick) on the surface and also making the material abrasion resistant. The result of this process, according to Xeromax, is the most durable, invisible, waterproofing technology available.
The Hydrapel technology was original developed by Matt Linford , Associate Professor of Chemistry and BioChemistry at BYU with the help of PHD candidate Gaurav Sinai. Two second year MBA students, Chris Bryant and Jon Ward were soon brought on board to help commercialize the technology.
So far the Company has signed an NDA agreement with a major technical fabric manufacturer but no further word on when we might see Hydrapel come to market.