CAMBRIDGE, MA - As part of its innovation strategy, Henkel Adhesive Technologies is signing a joint development agreement with U.S.-based DropWise Technologies Corp.

DropWise, founded in 2014, is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. The start-up company has developed technology, intellectual property and lab-scale manufacturing knowhow for a novel method of hydrophobic coating applications. The partnership will enable Henkel to expand its position in the global surface treatment business and drive growth with new applications.

The DropWise application process is based on an initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) technique that allows the coating to be applied for OEM or retrofit applications. Using just a very small amount of polymer precursors, a chemical reaction is carried out that covalently grafts an ultra-thin polymer film to any metal surface, such as stainless steel, titanium, copper, aluminum, and even polymers and ceramics. One possible use of DropWise’s hydrophobic coating is in condensing heat exchangers, where the technology increases the efficiency by eliminating the insulating film of liquid that typically builds up on the surface. Target applications include industrial heat exchangers such as steam condensers in power plants, heating ventilation and automotive air-conditioning, as well as chemical processes. Increasing the efficiency of these systems allows for reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and coolant water use, particularly for thermal power plants, which are the largest contributors to global emissions and second-largest consumers of water.

“We are very excited to be partnering with a global leader in metal surface treatment,” said Adam Paxson, CEO of DropWise. “Henkel’s deep technical expertise and strong track record of bringing new innovations to their customers will enable us to fast-track commercialization in key market areas.”

DropWise is commercializing the technology out of two laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has a strong track record of bringing material science-based innovation to the market. Henkel Adhesive Technologies is closely working with MIT to directly interact with start-ups and entrepreneurs.