P2i Demos Liquid-Repellent Nano-Coating

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Liquipel isn't the only company pushing water-repellent nano-coating: UK-based P2i demonstrated the impressive powers of its Aridion nanotechnology at CES this year.

P2i's Aridion nanotechnology is a super-thin coating (it's less than 30nm thick, about 1000 times thinner than a human hair) for electronic devices that essentially make them liquid- and stain-repellent. P2i says it's the leader in liquid-repellent nano-coating technology, and backs up this claim with a figure: over 7 million hearing aids currently feature the technology.

P2i demonstrated the powers of Aridion with something very basic--a tissue. Well, two tissues, actually. One was a regular tissue, while the other was a tissue treated with Aridion coating. I picked both up before the demonstration started, and could not tell the difference--that's how thin and non-invasive the coating is.

To show it off, P2i dropped water with blue dye on both of the tissues. The untreated tissue absorbed the water (as tissues are wont to do), while the treated tissue repelled the water--the water just beaded up and rolled off. Even after several minutes, the water was still beaded up on the tissue. Check it out:

Left: The Aridion-treated tissue. Right: A regular tissue.

According to the company, Aridion is thin enough to treat an entire electronic device--both inside and out. P2i demonstrated this to me by tearing the treated tissue in half and pouring blue-dyed water on the inner layers (sure enough, it still repelled the water).

The Aridion coating can be applied to finished phones, though P2i currently only works directly with manufacturers. The company works closely with Motorola, and so Aridion coating is what's behind the new Motorola Droid RAZR's "SplashGuard." P2i currently has no plans to offer the coating service to the public, a spokesman told me, because it's trying to get manufacturers on board first. However, public services may be available in the future.

Though the technology only makes devices water-repellent--not waterproof--and therefore cannot protect devices that are fully submerged in water for a long time, they did let me dunk the tissue in a bowl of water and it came out totally unscathed. Not bad.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.

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