There’s no doubt that submersing a phone in water usually spells trouble. Although there are some steps you can take to dry out your phone and return it to its previous working condition, there are some situations your phone simply won’t recover from – which can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve just shelled out hundreds of dollars for the latest device!
So wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to “water-proof” smartphones to ensure that minor accidents like dunks in the toilet or cycles through the washing machine didn’t result in you having to replace the entire device?
If the idea of water-proofing mobile devices sounds far-fetched, don’t give up hope yet! In fact, the slew of new companies releasing water-repellent nano coatings for smartphones and other electronic devices has the potential to solve this frustrating problem once and for all…
Here’s how the process works…
Currently, smartphones and other mobile devices are considered to be “hydrophilic,” which means that water and other liquids are naturally attracted to the molecular surface of their components. When you drop your smartphone in water, this becomes a problem, as tiny molecules of water cling to your phones components, making it difficult to dry your device and restore it to full functionality.
To prevent this from occurring, companies that sell nano coatings have found a way to apply chemicals that alter the surface of the phone on a microscopic level, causing the phone and its components to transform from being hydrophilic to hydrophobic (aka – water repellant). Once a phone has been coated with water-repellant nano coatings, water and other liquids will roll of the surface of the device without penetrating its inner-most workings.
- A phone or mobile device is placed in a vacuum chamber which removes all the oxygen from the environment surrounding the phone, allowing the necessary chemical reactions to take place.
- A special ionized gas (technically, a plasma) is pulsed into the chamber.
- This pulse allows an extremely thin layer of the company’s specific polymer to bind to all the surfaces of the phone. It is the bonding of this chemical and the mobile device that changes the surface attraction and allows the device to repel water.
The result of this process is a phone that’s nearly impervious to water.
Of course, there are some complications. For the process to be effective, it must be applied both to the phone and the battery, as both of these components contain specific circuits that can be damaged by submersion in water. Unfortunately, applying nano coatings to both the phone and battery can void some manufacturer’s warnings, which is why many of the companies selling this service are working with device manufacturers to have a similar process added to all phones before they’re sold.
While the technology that enables even the most delicate of smartphones to survive submersion in water or other liquids is still relatively new, there’s no doubt that we’ll see more of this promising service in the future.