Microcellular Electrical Wire Coatings

Introduction In microcellular plastic foams, inert gas is dissolved in thermoplastic under high pressure. The forced evacuation of this gas during processing creates pores (or cells) within the final hardened plastic. These cells are small enough that clarity of the plastic is unaffected, and because of the cells, much less starting material is required for creating low-density microcellular plastics than for conventional plastics, greatly reducing weight and cost. These plastics also have a greatly reduced dielectric constant and make excellent electrical insulators, so one effective application of these plastics is as electrical wire coatings. Technology Description Professor Kumar at the University of Washington has developed a process that uses microcellular plastics as advanced coatings for electrical wires. These plastics can be integrated as coatings either before or after the cells have been created, and those coatings are less dense than, require less material than, and are superior insulators to conventional coatings. The flexibility of the microcellular process also allows for excellent tunability of cell size and customizability by accommodating different thermoplastics. Business Opportunity This methodology for the production of microcellular electrical wire coatings presents opportunities to reduce cost, weight, and starting material in any process that requires the coating of electrical conductors. It is suitable for producing coatings of varying widths and properties to accommodate needs. Stage of Development A working methodology for this technology is in development. Intellectual Property Position The UW is currently reviewing this technology for worldwide patent protection.

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