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Posted in | Nanobusiness

Liquid Repellent Nanotechnology Debuts in Tactical Footwear

Published on November 17, 2009 at 6:37 AM

ion-mask™, the liquid repellent nano-coating technology by P2i with military origins, this week debuts in tactical footwear, with the launch of Magnum’s award-winning Elite Force 8.0 WPi at Milipol 2009.

Uniformed services specialist Magnum is marking this highly-significant milestone by dedicating its Milipol stand (11G090) to promoting the revolutionary liquid repellency, protection and performance improvements that ion-mask™ delivers in footwear.

A world first on Magnum's stand will be public demonstrations of ion-mask™ being applied to various materials, using one of P2i's special plasma processing machines. These are used in a growing number of mass-manufacturing locations around the world to realise economies of scale.

Magnum’s live treatment demonstrations will show clearly how ion-mask™ transforms the performance of footwear by applying a nanoscopic protective polymer layer to the whole shoe, on which water and other liquids form beads and simply roll off, instead of being absorbed.

Crucially for tactical boot wearers, ion-mask™ makes the Elite Force 8.0 WPi completely blood-borne pathogen resistant. This is a vital capability for soldiers or other uniformed services seeking to manage biohazard contamination risks in combat or conflict environments. The Elite Force 8.0 WPi meets BS EN ISO 16604:2004 'pathogen resistance' testing standards, as well as complying with the BS EN ISO 20347:2004 standard for personal protection equipment and occupational footwear.

Another benefit for professional users is the fact that by using ion-mask™, the Elite Force 8.0 WPi does not need a membrane, which saves 30g of weight in every boot. Importantly these boots also stay light by resisting the uptake of water, making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods. They are also easy to clean and stain resistant.

Because ion-mask™ gives the whole shoe (including the stitching) superior water repellency, it delivers two additional benefits:

ion-mask™ stops external water getting in, when combined with suitable footwear construction techniques. 'Water box' exhibits on the Magnum stand will allow show visitors to experience for themselves how effectively ion-mask™ resists water ingress.

ion-mask™ encourages evaporated perspiration to flow out. As a result, shoes dry out more quickly, won’t get heavier over time, and maintain the natural airflow of their construction material. By optimising temperature and ‘breathability’, ion-mask™ ensures that the Elite Force 8.0 WPi keep wearers feet more comfortable and dry in the most challenging performance conditions, at extremes of heat and moisture.

Finally but very importantly, ion-mask™ is a climate-friendly choice. Its application process is solvent-free, PFOA-free, uses only tiny quantities of protective agent, does not require lots of energy and generates minimal waste.

Dr Stephen Coulson, the inventor of ion-mask™ technology and Chief Technical Officer of P2i, comments: "Our technology is all about superior performance in terms of comfort and protection, and we're delighted that our military heritage is now available in a product designed to benefit soldiers, policemen, paramedics, security guards and all of the other uniformed services. In tough roles like those, the least they deserve is footwear that is lightweight and comfortable for extended wear, yet also fully protective against all the tactical hazards encountered on a day to day basis."

P2i's military heritage
P2i originated as a project within the UK Government's Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL), to make soldiers' protective clothing more effective against chemical attack. P2i Ltd was established as a company in 2004 as the first DSTL Technology Transfer process, which was created to commercialise technologies developed by the UK Government.

In recent weeks P2i has returned to its roots with a commission from the MoD to supply a clothing capability. P2i can also reveal that it is partnering with a leading global supplier of life protection equipment, to develop a product protected using ion-mask™ technology that will set new standards of comfort and performance when it is released in a few months' time.

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