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Water water everywhere…but not a drop on me

It’s the video that’s been going viral – Neverwet’s water-repellent+ nanotechnology. Why water-repellant+ and not just water-repellant? Because any liquid is not only repelled from NeverWet treated surfaces, it “shoots” off them. 

Just spray on 12 microns of the stuff and you can protect against anything including water ingress, corrosion, bacteria. Anything….even Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (see video below).

So what applications does this have in defence?

In an interview with DefenceIQ Andrew Jones, President of Ross Nanotechnology, which is the company behind NeverWet, revealed that “there are many, many defence applications for this” technology.

Although Jones admitted that defence had not been a priority market for the company at this early stage in its go-to-market strategy, it was an area in which he feels the nanotechnology could gain a lot of traction in the future.

The most applicable use for NeverWet according to Jones would be for the Navy, specifically for use on submarines and submarines structures.

“I was a nuclear submarine officer for five years. I’ve served in these markets. We used to have these giant AC/DC motors all over the submarine … I think it would be fabulous to coat those pumps so that the frequent water spray that happens in submarines would not be an issue.”

But it’s not just a bog standard waterproof coating that NeverWet offers though, it is also provides anti-corrosion and anti-icing protection. Anti-corrosion is where Jones thinks NeverWet can offer the most value for military applications by extending the through-life of equipment.

“We haven’t had a lot of exposure in corrosion, but the technology is terrific against corrosion,” said Jones. Indicating that Navy applications will be considered more in the future Jones explained that, “We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire at the moment and corrosion hasn’t been a priority market but it is a terrific application for this stuff.”

Jones explained that he has been in contact with Navy officials regarding the technology but at this time cost is a prohibitive factor.  Jones told Defence IQ that “NeverWet’s performance greatly exceeds their (the Navy’s) needs and specified standards” in terms of anti-corrosion requirements. He went on to state that “If I can be the cheapest solution then I’ll win.” It’s not a matter of capability but a matter of affordability.

Although price is a concern currently, Jones said that NeverWet isn’t necessarily required for a large-scale coating, but can be very effective at targeting the specific areas most exposed to rusting and corrosion.

“In our military infrastructure you will always have that one joint which rots. You don’t have to coat the whole vehicle with it but in small applications Neverwet can be of critical use and importance.”

Jones is far from ruling out the technology for use in the future as it becomes more price competitive. Added to that, the Navy is making moves towards new, clean, innovative technology demonstrated in the $12 million procurement of biofuel last week and its commitment to creating a Green Green Fleet by 2016. The U.S Navy, it seems, is not against spending money for the right technology.

Further to its submarine applications Jones foresees a number of other uses for NeverWet in the military. High altitude aircraft could potentially use the technology in the future to prevent icing, although this isn’t something that is available just yet. “We cannot prevent wings from icing just yet, but we’re working on that,” said Jones. With the increasing numbers of mobile electronic equipment now carried by troops on the ground, NeverWet also has undeniable applications here to protect all of the expensive and mission-critical devices from the elements.

NeverWet is still in its infancy but it could have many applications for the military in the future, not least for protecting and maintaining submarines and its equipment and technology.

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