WX2100 - Fluorothane Super-Hydrophobic Coating

Keywords: rain fade, TV signal loss, super hydrophobic, superhydrophobic, super-hydrophobic coating, satellite dish, radome, Ku Band, Ka Band.

Evaluation of Heavy Rain Performance for Various Hydrophobic Coatings Following Long-Term UV Exposure

Purpose. This report attempts to address selected issues presented in Army Regulation No. 70-38, which conforms to MIL-STD-210B and MIL-STD-810E. These documents provide significant and interesting data about real-world extremes in solar radiation and rain fall as well as establishing useful test guidelines. A further aim is to present a comparison of various commercially available hydrophobic and super-hydrophobic coatings following and during conditions outlined in AR-70-38.

Solar Radiation Extremes. In hot, dry conditions found in the northern deserts of Africa and Asia, the intensity of solar radiation can reach 1120 Watts/meter squared. The average of solar radiation in this region over 24 hours can exceed 386 W/m2. Seasonal daily minimums for these hot, dry locations is 334 W/m2, and yearly averages are 360 W/m2. Total solar energy reaching a test surface, at these locations is about (10)10 Joules/m2 per year. Solar intensities in the hot, humid conditions at these latitudes tend to be somewhat lower.

Damaging Radiation. The hard ultraviolet component of solar radiation is primarily responsible for the degradation of hydrophobic coatings. The most damaging spectral component is between 0.28 and 0.32 microns, amounting to 0.45 percent of total radiance or about 5 W/m2. Total annual hard UV reaching a test surface under extreme conditions would be 4.5 (10)7 Joules/m2 per year. The less damaging component between 0.32 and 0.40 microns represents 5.6 percent of the total or 63 W/m2. Little photo-chemical transformation generally occurs in response to visible or infrared light.

Rainfall Extremes. The world's highest rainfall intensities occur in Southeast Asia. Operational values during the rainiest periods are typically 5 inches of rain per hour at intermittent wind speeds of 15 meters per second. Drop size is predominantly (2626 drops out of 3021) between 0.5 and 1.5 millimeters The highest intensities can reach 60 inches of rain per hour for brief periods at wind speeds of 45 m/s.

Contact Angle and Rain Run-off: A test surface inclined at 45 degrees will shed heavy rain in one of three modes, depending on its static contact angle and smoothness. For static contact angles less than about 90 degrees, heavy rain will form a sheet or film uniformly covering the surface. At contact angles between about 90 and 130 degrees, rivulets form, allowing water to run off as large drops or in streams. As surfaces become extremely hydrophobic, with contact angles between 130 and 170 degrees, even extreme rain tends to run off as very small drops.

Rain Testing After Hard UV Exposure. Since microwave antenna performance has been shown to diminish as water filming increases, measurement of contact angle throughout a heavy rain challenge seems important. Initial contact angle data for unchallenged surfaces are of little benefit in preventing rain attenuation unless those contact angles are maintained.

Rain and Radiation Simulation. An apparatus for simulating heavy rain was developed to produce 10 to 60 inches of rain per hour with impact speeds of 25 to 45 meters per second and drop sizes statistically conforming to the Army data. To rapidly measure the effect of ultraviolet radiation, a temperature controlled, low pressure mercury lamp chamber was constructed to produce the UV equivalent of 4 years of Asian desert sun light per hour at 120 degrees F. Although not measured, there is a substantial amount of ozone in the UV chamber during a test, and resistance to ozone may indicate further resistance to other industrial and natural corrosive agents.

The graph compares the contact angles during heavy rain exposure of Cytonix's Fluorothane M-Series, FluoroPel WX, Boyd Coatings Research's "Liquid Teflon", Channel Master's Jones-Blair coating, and Prodelin's "Super-Hydrophobic" coating. Prodelin and Channel Master provided panels for testing, and the Boyd coating was applied according to the manufacturer's specification. Panels were exposed to the equivalent of ten years equitorial sun from a 400 watt low pressure mercury lamp with parabolic aluminum reflector at a distance of 8 inches from the focal point. Panels were then exposed to scattered droplets from a high velocity water stream impacting a smooth plastic surface at 45 degrees. The scattered droplets have a drop size distribution similar to heavy rain, reaching the test panels at a rate of 10 inches per hour. The Prodelin, Channel Master and Boyd panels all had contact angles below 90° and uniform water filming after the first few hours of the rain challenge. Fluorothane M-Series and FluoroPel WX exhibited no significant loss of contact angle after 240 hours and 2400 inches of rain. In subsequent tests, Fluorothane M-Series and FluoroPel WX had 145° contact angles after exposure to extreme rain at 60 inches per hour for one hour.

WX2100 is also avaiable as Fluorothane MW 1.01

Fluorothane MW 1.01 is a single-part, air-cured fluorourethane alkyd brush or roll coating with excellent water , snow and ice repellancy (contact angle >150°) and resistance to weather and UV. This version of the M-series Fluorothanes has the broadest application temperature range. Fluorothane MW applied to microwave dishes and radomes may be expected to remain superhydrophobic for 10 years or more. The coating is rain resistant after 6 hours, substantially cures in 24 hours and is fully cured in 5 to 10 days. Application temperatures should be between 32° and 95°F. One gallon covers 200 to 400 square feet. DIRECTV Outdoor Test

Residential and commercial applications to marine and ground-based microwave antenna.
$60 per pint, $95 per quart, $220 per gallon.

FluorN, FluoroSyl, FluoroPel, Fluorothane and PerFluoroCoat are trademarks of the Cytonix Corporation. Patents are issued or pending for the formulations listed on this page, for certain methods of their application , and for the coating of certain articles. Copyright 2006.

Cytonix Corporation, 8000 Virginia Manor Road, Beltsville, MD 20705
phone: (888) CYTONIX, fax: (301) 470-6269