Superhydrophobic coatings are water-repellent coating materials that create a layer to protect the surface from water droplets. Thus, these coatings improve the durability by preventing the surface from moisture, snow, rain, etc. Superhydrophobic coatings not only enable water to slip off the surface, but they also repel water molecules from the surface in contrary to conventional waterproof coatings. Superhydrophobic surfaces alter the surface topography to impart superior water-repellent properties. They modify the surface energy and surface roughness to enhance hydrophobicity. They also create a superhydrophobic surface by maintaining a contact angle larger than 150° between the surface and water droplets. Furthermore, these coatings provide resistance from other liquids, oil, grease, dirt, waterborne microbes, ice, etc.
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Development of superhydrophobic coatings is inspired from naturally occurring hydrophobic surfaces such as the lotus leaf and desert beetle. Superhydrophobic coatings consist of nano-dimensional composite particles that create a micro or nano-scale binary-structured surface. Superhydrophobic coatings can be made from a variety of materials such as silicon-based materials, carbon nanotubes, composites of polystyrene and metal oxides, and calcium carbonates. They can be applied on solid surfaces via a spray or by dipping the material into a gel. Superhydrophobic coatings can be applied on a wide range of substrates such as metals, polymers, glasses, semiconductors, fabrics, polymers, and 3D printed materials. Their usage offers numerous advantages such as self-cleaning, anti-wetting, anti-corrosion, anti-fouling, and anti-icing performances.
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Superhydrophobic coatings shield surfaces from detrimental effects caused by water molecules. Hence, they are used in various applications that face significant threat from humid conditions. The electronics industry extensively uses these coatings. Smartphones, LED and LCD displays, hard disc, printers, and other water-sensitive electronic components are major areas of application in the electronics industry. Superhydrophobic coatings are also employed in medical devices such as needles, syringes, and medical implants. They have broad usage in several optical applications such as sunglasses, ski goggles, lasers, and other high-end optical components. They have potential usage in automotive, aerospace, marine, solar and wind, and textiles industries. Superhydrophobic coatings are applied on glass and plastics-based components of cars in the automotive industry. They are applied on windshields, exterior mechanical parts, helicopter blades, rotors, sensors, etc., in the aerospace industry. Furthermore, superhydrophobic coatings are used in various consumer goods such as stainless steel appliances and kitchen appliances.
The global market for superhydrophobic coatings has witnessed substantial growth in the past few years. Growth in electronics, medical devices, and aerospace industries in developed countries has driven the superhydrophobic coatings market in the past few years. The global market for superhydrophobic coatings was dominated by North America in the past few years. Europe held the second-largest share of the market followed by Asia Pacific in 2014. Asia Pacific is estimated to exhibit the fastest growth rate during the forecast period due to significant growth in electronics and medical devices industries in developed countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea. The superhydrophobic coatings market in Middle East & Africa and Latin America is also expanding at a fast pace due to rapid industrial development. The market in Middle East & Africa and Latin America is expected to exhibit a promising trend in the next few years.
Growth in electronics and medical devices industries primarily boosts growth of the superhydrophobic coatings market. Increased demand for advanced electronic devices and modern medical equipment is projected to drive the superhydrophobic coatings market in the next few years. Superhydrophobic coatings are prepared using silicon-based materials that increase the risk of cancer and other health problems. Hence, increasing health and environmental concerns are anticipated to hinder the market growth during the forecast period. However, advancement in nanotechnology is expected to boost development of superhydrophobic coatings using environmentally sustainable materials. This, in turn, would create lucrative opportunities in the market. Potential application of superhydrophobic coatings in marine, solar and wind, and aerospace industries is likely to open up attractive avenues in the market.
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Major manufacturers of superhydrophobic coatings include Aculon, Inc., Autus Labs Pvt. Ltd., DryWired, Hydrobead, NeverWet LLC, NEI Corporation, NTT Advanced Technology (NTT-AT) Corporation, P2i Ltd, Surfactis Technologies, and UltraTech International, Inc.
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