P2i – Ploughshare’s first ever spin out company

P2i is a global leader in liquid repellent nanotechnology, and was Ploughshare’s first ever spin out company, created in 2005. Originally developed to protect soldiers from chemical agents, the hydrophobic and oleophobic coating is now used to waterproof smartphones, headphones, Bluetooth headsets and hearing aids. It extends the lifespan of these products, so is great for the environment too.



  • P2i spun out by Ploughshare in 2005, develops effective water-repellent coating for small consumer devices.



  • Waterproofing of smartphones and other small, electronic devices



  • Protects small electronic consumer devices
  • Extends the life of devices
  • Focus on eliminating waste through protection from damage and corrosion

Working with Ploughshare in P2i’s early years really helped us to get established in our target markets and increase the impact of P2i’s technology.

Dr Stephen Coulson


The Story

The back side of the smartphone with water drops on a black background with water drops. Protect your smartphone from water.

Dr Stephen Coulson, founder and current CTO of P2i began his PhD research investigating liquid repellent surfaces whilst on a Ministry of Defence funded programme at Dstl in 1996 to develop chemical-proof clothing for soldiers. Using plasma nanotechnology, Stephen devised a method of applying an ultrathin coating to a fabric, rendering it both oil resistant and waterproof.

Recognising its potential, P2i then became the first company to be spun out by Dstl and Ploughshare when it was established. Dstl worked closely with Stephen to begin the process of spinning out the company in 2003.  This completed in early 2004, and funding from various sources, including Surface Capital was secured. Stephen now splits his time between working on P2i’s technological development and remaining a part of the company strategy.

Now P2i has a major focus on electronics industries, where its goal is to eliminate waste, increase product lifecycles and drive sustainability through a circular economy. The company launched their halogen-free technology in January 2020 which enables companies to achieve their environmental targets, using a fluorine, halogen, PFAS-free process.

P2i is consistently driving sustainability by protecting products from corrosion or damage, enabling an ultimately longer lifecycle, as well as the possibility for the product to be refurbished and reused. Using nanocoating instead of halogen-processes is also a much more cost-effective way of reducing scrappage. A ‘right to repair’ legislation by the European Commission for the reduction of wastage and product life extension is also set to contribute to this issue.

As a leader in driving change in the electronics industry in particular, P2i are helping their customers meet their environmental targets.

Since 2013, the company has won more than 23 awards and set up a charitable trust 2010, which Improves and supports scientific education in P2i’s employment catchment areas.

The Technology

A plasma coating process when applied to a material dramatically reduces the surface energy, meaning liquids simply roll off the surface upon contact. This doesn’t affect the material’s breathability or structure, and provides protection against high humidity and corrosive environments. the process is environmentally friendly, using halogen-free barrier technology.

P2i’s three main products include ‘Splash Proof’, ‘Dunkable’ and ‘Barrier’ offer lifetime protection with a non-degradable nanocoating and a reworkable coating for in-factory rework and field return repairs.

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Smart Homes

The smart home is a concept becoming ever more relevant; including security, cameras, access systems, and smart locks, it is important to be able to protect these against environmental damage. P2i’s Dunkable coating provides lifetime IPX6-IPX8 protection to consumer electronics from the inside out. This drastically increases durability and lifetime of a product no matter where it is used.

Hearing aids

P2i works closely with Japanese and European suppliers to implement Barrier technology which protects hearing aids from damage caused by humidity, moisture, sweat and body oils. The coating is non-allergenic and as a result, over 60% of the world’s production of hearing devices now come with P2i technology as standard.

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  • Surface energy 3x lower than industry standard PTFE
  • 1000x thinner than a human hair, so the look and feel of the treated object is unaltered
  • Increased reliability and durability as it protects devices from premature failures associated with liquid damage, making them more reliable in all environments and increasing their lifespan.
  • An invisible breathable layer which renders the entire surface of a product highly water and oil repellent.
  • Helping to eliminate waste by ensuring products are reusable

Fact File

Innovation Source: MOD/Dstl
Funding: Porton Capital, Unilever, seed funds, ICON Corporate Finance, Ombu Group
Applications: Electronics, drones, smart electronics, medical, textiles,
End Users: Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, Panasonic, Nokia, Australian Government Department of Defence