Development of durable nanocoatings for autonomous vehicle sensors - ON-234

Preferred Disciplines: Materials Engineering, Chemistry (College level)
Company: AlchemyNano
Project Length: 4-6 months
Desired start date: September/October 2019
Location: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: None

About the Company: 

Alchemy is a YC-backed startup pioneering two state-of-the-art nanocoatings; (i) an abrasion resistant coating, and (ii) a passive frost prevention coating. The first of these is already powering ExoShield, our aftermarket windshield protection film that provides 6X impact resistance to prevent costly replacements for consumers. ExoShield is currently sold by over 200 resellers in 12 countries, and is the fastest growing windshield protection film on the market.

We are leveraging our existing coatings to prevent sensor blindness in autonomous vehicles through development of a coating that prevents build up of water, dirt, ice, frost, snow, bug splatter or other road debris while simultaneously having the high durability neccesary to withstand tough automotive conditions. 

Project Description:

Alchemy is developing nanocoatings that can be used to prevent obstruction of critical autonomous vehicle sensors that are easily blinded by dirt, frost, snow, ice, rain, bug-splatter, and road debris. Our nanocoatings already power our aftermarket product, ExoShield, which is a thin, transparent film designed to protect the windshield from impact while also maintaining a high abrasion-resistance.

We are working to build on our existing coatings technology to improve the omniphobic character (as it relates to water/dirt shedding ability)  whilst maintaining high weatherability and mechanical durability. This involves the incorporation of additives to incorporate into a novel coating formulation that meets these requirements. Key to the success of this project is the design and development of advanced testing methods that can be carried out in-house to accelerate and validate the coating design trajectory.

Research Objectives:

  • Aid in the development of new formulations for improved hydrophobicity, oleophobicity, UV durability, abrasion resistance, anti-frost, anti-fog, etc.
  • Validate all testing equipment and procedures in order to establish performance benchmarks


  • Materials testing using methods such as abrasion testing, tensile testing, surface characterization, and optical characterization
  • Maintain and troubleshoot test equipment to ensure tests can be accurately carried out

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Wet chemistry lab procedures
  • Basic materials testing concepts
  • Ability to troubleshoot problems with lab equipment for materials testing
  • Working with ASTM standards

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects
  2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform.