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Hydrophilic PDMS for Industrial Surfaces or Materials

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is an inert non-toxic silicon-based polymer that is used in applications ranging from medical devices (prosthesis, contact lenses, etc) to electrical insulators, anti-foaming agents, and other products. Each of these applications is a multi-billion dollar market in which PDMS plays a significant role. For example, the US semiconductor and electronic components manufacturing industry alone generates $150 billion annually, of which PDMS could impact a significant portion. The hydrophobic nature of PDMS is an undesirable property for microfluidic devices and sensor applications. A variety of strategies have been developed to render the PDMS surface hydrophilic, which include exposure to oxygen plasma, ozone, corona discharge, and ultraviolet light. Utah State University’s PDMS technology is a simple and cost-efficient method to create hydrophilic PDMS surfaces by polymer addition chemistry, compared to the above mentioned costly and time consuming procedures.
Features and Benefits
  • Electrical insulators
  • Water repellants
  • Anti-foaming/releasing agents for agricultural chemicals
  • High-performance microfluidic devices
  • Mold-release agents
  • Adhesives
  • Protective coatings
  • Encapsulation media
  • Dielectric fluids
  • Other similar devices
  • Control and flexibility in tailoring material properties such as:
    • Hydrophilic nature
    • Solubility and stability
    • Degree of transparency
  • Money-saving process:
    • Simple, quick procedure
    • Non-capital intensive process
Utah State University’s technology involves the controlled addition of a polymeric surfactant to the mixture of a base and curing agent to produce PDMS with a hydrophilic surface. The polymeric surfactant additive contains (a) a pendant polymer chain which is compatible with the base elastomer and serves to distribute the additive within the elastomer matrix and (b) a functional monomer / moiety, which imparts desirable surface properties to the formed elastomer monolith, where van der Waals forces and hydrophobic interactions between the PDMS base polymer and polymeric surfactant additive are sufficient to lead to a stable hydrophilic surface.
Development Stage
Hydrophilic PDMS has been produced in laboratory quantities and the PDMS solubility has been correlated with additive properties.
Patent Pending
Glenn Whichard
Senior Commercialization Associate
Physical Sciences
(435) 797-9604
Reference: W09006