SBIR Phase I: A Novel Approach to Optically Transparent Hard Coatings on Polymer Substrate

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NEI Corp.
201 Circle Drive North, Suite 102/103
Piscataway, NJ 08873
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will lead to an economical wet chemical method for depositing hard and scratch resistant coatings on transparent polymer substrates. The proposed program, when successfully carried out, will solve the ubiquitous problem of transparent polymer surfaces being scratched and worn. Solution methods, which are easily scalable, have been used to develop polymer-oxide nanoparticle (hybrid) transparent coatings on transparent polymers. Such materials lack high hardness values, which can be dramatically increased by incorporating coarse oxide ceramic particles in the hybrid matrix. Based on this innovative approach to maintain transparency even with addition of a significant volume fraction of coarse particles (> 0.25 microns) to a hybrid matrix, transparent coatings will be developed on polycarbonate and acrylic substrates with excellent wear and chemical resistance. Solution methods of forming polymer nanocomposites coatings are far more economical compared to vacuum/gas phase processing (e.g., plasma polymerization), but its use has been restricted because of the poor abrasion resistance of these coatings.