SurfTec earns Phase II National Science Foundation grant

by Jennifer Joyner (JJoyner@nwabj.com) 23 views 

SurfTec of Fayetteville has won a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation to test the company’s nanoparticle-based adhesion technology within the metal-polymer bearings industry.

The technology is intended to “support automotive and aerospace industry needs for reduced corrosion, friction and wear in automotive systems,” according to a press release from the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.

SurfTec’s founders said its technology addresses the issue of losses resulting from equipment downtime and maintenance due to poor lubrication. Across all industries, the losses could add up to 6% of the U.S. GDP, an estimated total of $1 trillion for 2014, according to the press release.

SurfTec showed proof of concept during a Phase I grant from the SBIR program, and its technology showed a 40% reduction in friction, an 80% reduction in wear and eliminated susceptibility to corrosion, according to the company.

In Phase II, the company will scale up the coating process and implement pilot processing lines with manufacturers of bearings now on the market.

“This grant will take us through the final stage before product launch,” said co-founder, president and CEO Samuel Beckford. “We have chosen metal-polymer bearings as our target market, but we are also actively going through the customer discovery process to branch out into other application we think may be a good fit.  We are looking at applications such as coating of biomedical implants to reduce friction, coating evaporator coils and aerospace components to reduce ice adhesion, coating marine vessels to reduce biofouling.”

If the scheduled tasks go as planned, SurfTec expects a product launch date the final quarter of 2018.

SurfTec was formed in 2015 to commercialize the patent-pending polydopamine (PDA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) technology pioneered by Beckford and Min Zou, chief technology officer and co-founder.

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