An injection-grade additive that makes plastic surfaces highly repellent to water, dirt, mud and ice was introduced today by NBD Nanotechnologies (Boston, MA).

The additive is the first product in the company’s RepelShell line to reach the market. Initial applications include mud- and water-resistant athletic footwear, anti-stain electronics, self-cleaning non-woven fibers and anti-stain textiles. Industrial plastics used in energy, automotive, architecture, manufacturing and technology also could benefit from the material, according to the company.

The patented formulation is composed of functionalized molecules that are drop-in additives during plastic compounding. NBD’s hybrid molecule combines organic and inorganic elements that impart desirable structural and thermal properties.

“NBD Nano RepelShell . . . delivers thermal stability and high surface performance through an injection-grade solution that gets added directly to the plastic,” said Deckard Sorensen, President at NBD Nano, in a prepared statement. “Imagine a professional soccer star playing on a super-muddy pitch: If the bottoms of the player’s cleats have RepelShell for Plastic, they will remain permanently and completely mud-free,” he added.

The nanostructured chemical is added to plastics in a powder form to create hydrophobic and oleophobic properties. The plastic retains all of its intended mechanical properties, while gaining extreme water and oil repellency at the surface, according to the company. Because it only requires low-weight loadings, the additive is described as an overall cost-effective solution.

“Given the low surface energy of our molecule, the NBD plastic additive rises to the surface and results in an embedded solution that is distributed at the molecular level and highly miscible with the host resin, resulting in permanent performance without the fear of wearing or leaching off over time” said Sorensen. “The NBD additive provides end-product properties that are simply not possible with existing coatings or plastics.”