Water and oil repellency are essential for the reliable function of many applications such as medical devices, electronics, clothing or automobile components
In extreme conditions, repellency can also offer critical, life-saving performance features. To achieve this, many manufacturers create membranes that have been coated with water and oil-repellent treatments, which act as a barrier for liquid ingress. To ensure efficient protection from harmful liquids inside electronic enclosures, these treatments rely on fluorinated chemistries or are naturally hydrophobic like PTFE. Historically, these finishes and materials (PTFE) have been made using per- or polyfluorinated chemicals – which contain fluorine – an incredibly effective water repellent.
Fluorine impacts everything and is not biodegradable. For this reason, per- or polyfluorinated chemicals are called eternity chemicals. According to the EPA, the manufacturing of these “forever chemicals” harms human and animal health, accumulating in us through air, water and food.
That’s why we have been actively researching the best PFAS-free alternative without sacrificing water-resistant performance and durability. PFAS, which stands for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is the latest terminology to encompass this wide class of chemicals.
What’s the difference?
PFAS, PFOA, PFOS, and PFCs are different versions of the same concept of fluorinated chemicals but with slightly different molecular structures and fairly similar functions. Many times, these acronyms are used interchangeably.
WHERE WE ARE
Making sure our water and oil repellent products perform isn’t just a matter of safety and reliability
Oxyphen´s hydrophobic and oleophobic track-etched membranes remain the same high quality for which we are known. For years, all Oxyphen membranes have been 100% free of PerFluorOctanoicAcid (PFOA) as proven by external lab analysis.
As of July 2020, the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), PFOA-related compounds and its salts – is restricted by the EU. Oxyphen develops and manufactures venting materials that can be used in the automotive, electronics, medical device, diagnostic and industrial markets. Since then, we have dramatically reduced the use of PFAS-related components across both of our track-etched membrane technologies, unlaminated Unique-Mem and laminated Rotrac.
All of Oxyphen´s Track-Etched Membrane technologies are 98% PFAS Free.
Our membranes offer excellent water repellency while still fulfilling oleophobic requirements in many applications. Due to the surface properties and chemical composition of track-etched membrane materials, we are able to replace all PTFE and ePTFE membranes without compromising performance.
Since the demand to replace harmful PFAS-based PTFE and ePTFE membranes is significant, we are further investigating proper coatings to reduce our current membrane technology from 98% to 100% PFAS-free. We have received promising results to meet our commitment within 2023. These materials will feature the same water-repellent properties as in current membrane solutions while still delivering sufficient oleophobic properties for many applications.
Interested in speaking with one of our track-etched membrane experts?