Oleophobic Coating

Oleophobic Coating

Oleophobic Coating - Depositing oil repellant coatings • Using Thierry plasma systems

What are Oleophobic Coatings?

An oleophobic coating is an oil-repellent coating. This means that it does not allow oil to absorb. A common oleophobic substance is water, but this quality can be produced on other materials with the help of Thierry treatment processes. The most useful aspect of oleophobic coatings is that they can make materials fingerprint-resistant because they repel the oils that are produced by the skin. Oleophobic coatings are most commonly used in medical supplies and the consumer electronics industry. They are used to coat medical tubing, endoscope lenses, surgical visors and shields. More recently, oleophobic coatings are being used extensively to make smudge-resistant touch screens for smartphones and tablets.

Oleophobic Coating Plasma Treatment

Oleophobic Coatings are deposited on materials using a plasma process called plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition. This takes an oleophobic substance and evaporates it within a chamber. This process binds the oleophobic substance to the material on the surface creating a thin permanent layer that does not require reapplication.

To learn more about the use of plasma in manufacturing, please read our eBook titled "Manufacturer’s Surface Activation Guide for Improved Adhesion."

Oleophobic coating applications

  • Piping and Tubing: The most common choice for this kind of application is fluoropolymer coatings. Usually, this type of coating is applied to the surface inside special pipes that are supposed to transport oil. This enables a smooth flow of the oil and avoids any clogging of the tube.
  • Automotive industry: The automotive sector uses both, nano and fluoropolymer coatings for different purposes. One possible utilization is the creation of anti-fingerprint touchscreens. The same idea can also be applied to car windows and basically any other polished surface inside a modern car. Another aspect is the anti-fogging ability of the windscreen.
  • Textiles and Clothing: Plasma-coated textiles with oleophobic, or even superoleophobic surfaces exhibit self-cleaning and potentially anti-microbial properties. This enhances not only the durability of the clothes but also the hygienic aspects.
  • Consumer electronics and touchscreens: Last but not least, this is one of the most important fields for oleophobic coatings. Smartphones or tablets with oil-repellent nano coatings improve the consumer experience dramatically. With an oleophobic coating, the screen of any mobile device can just be cleaned by simply swiping it with a piece of cloth - no solvents needed.

Difference between oleophobic and hydrophilic coatings

The main difference between oleophobic and hydrophilic coatings is the fact that the former is related to oils while the latter is connected to water. More specifically, a surface is said to be oleophobic if it repulses oil. Hydrophilic implies that the coated area attracts or absorbs water very well. A more quantitative way to characterize hydrophilicity is the so-called contact angle, which is determined by a goniometer. When a droplet of demineralized water is put onto an area, its surface will have a certain angle with this area due to its surface tension. In the case of a hydrophilic coating, a drop of water will lie flat on the surface. Thus, it has quite a small angle with the contact area. If this angle is below 30°, the surface is considered to be hydrophilic.

There are two common ways to achieve oleophobic coatings – either by deposition of fluoropolymers, or nano-structured surfaces. Both options can be achieved with plasma coating technologies. Thierry Corp. can help you with finding the right plasma source for this purpose.

Benefits of oleophobic coatings

There are many benefits from oleophobic coatings, no matter if they are fluoropolymer or nano coatings. In general, oil-repellent surfaces are much easier to clean and the usage of isopropyl alcohol or other solvents can be greatly reduced or even avoided entirely. Consumers enjoy smartphone touchscreens that do not require much polishing, just a swift wipe with a piece of cloth. Industrial actors, on the other hand, gain advantages through oleophobic pipes for oil transportation, or self-cleaning textiles and anti-fingerprint surfaces. Surfaces with an oleophobic treatment allow much more convenient cleaning and enhanced anti-microbial properties. Both of these aspects are of utmost importance in the medical and healthcare field.

Apply your oleophobic coatings now with a suitable plasma source from Thierry Corp.

To learn more about the use of plasma in manufacturing, please read our eBook titled "Manufacturer’s Surface Activation Guide for Improved Adhesion."


New call-to-action