The present invention provides a water based, low VOC super hydrophobic coating composition that can be used to make wet and dry dirt repellent surfaces to keep the surfaces clean for a reasonable period of time. The coating utilizes hydrophobic nanoparticles dispersed in water. This treatment produces a virtually transparent coating releasing very little or no VOC compounds whereas previous coatings of comparable hydrophobicity release up to 99 percent VOC compounds. The coating can be applied by a simple, single application method and the super hydrophobic property can be achieved by drying at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. A preferred coating can be easily removed and renewed when desired. The aqueous hydrophobic self cleaning coating composition that can be applied by conventional methods such as by spraying the composition onto a surface creating a wet and dry dirt repellent coating on the surface. The hydrophobic self cleaning coatings are used on exterior automotive and boat surfaces, and in many other applications, to produce a self cleaning surface, reduce adherence of dirt and contaminants to a treated surface, and reduce drag in some applications providing an energy savings. The coating solves the problem of poor resistance to UV light, opaque appearance, and/or abrasion found in previous coatings of similar nature. A preferred coating has good resistance to UV light and some resistance to abrasion. Clear, nearly transparent and translucent coatings are produced as compared to conventional coatings of comparable hydrophobicity which are typically white or opaque. The coating can be applied by a single and easy spraying method and the super hydrophobic property can be achieved by drying the film by evaporation of the solvent wetting solution and water based carrier at ambient temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Embodiments of the hydrophobic self-cleaning coating composition can be produced resulting in a clear coating or in some cases a translucent dirt repellant film or coating on painted material, plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, fiberglass or a polymer substrate. The coating typically utilizes hydrophobic nanoparticles of fumed silica and/or titania wetted by a hydrophilic solvent such as acetone for no VOC applications, or with mineral spirits, alcohol or a light distillate if VOC are not a consideration, together with a selected surfactant typically having an HLB value in a range of from 9 to 13.
At least one preferred coating composition comprising an effective amount of a treated fumed silica wetted with a solvent and dispersed in water, upon drying, resulted in a coated surface providing a contact angle of at least 165 degrees and a surface energy below 12 dynes/centimeter as compared to water having a contact angle of from 65 to 80 degrees on a noncoated surface. The composition imparts a degree of hydrophobicity to a surface so that the surface will have a tilt angle of sliding of less than 2 degrees as compared to water on a noncoated surface having a tilt angle of sliding of 90 degrees or higher. The coating composition is removed by washing with a detergent or applying pressure to the coating wiping same from the treated surface. Exposure to water in the form of rain or snow does not remove the coating composition.