We’ve covered hydrophobic materials before because it’s just neat to see stuff not get wet when splashed with water. Commercial products like spray paints, water-resistant clothes and Teflon already exist, but repellent materials are not all equal. Some materials repel liquids better than others, and the way the surface is applied — painted, chemically bonded, etched, etc — makes a difference, too. Here are just a few more examples of hydrophobic surfaces (and a hydrophilic one) that people are working on.
- A new hydrophobic paint can be applied to fabrics, paper, glass and steel — making surfaces waterproof so that water just rolls off. This paint claims to be scratch-resistant so that it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. It’ll be nice to not need to wash and wax cars, but it might not be so nice to see bird droppings spilling/splashing off a car. [url]
- Liquid-infused polymers are a relatively new class of materials that can create repellent surfaces. Porous silicones saturated with silicone oils can prevent the build-up of biofilms, thereby reducing bacterial growth and infections. Liquid-infused polymers might also treat surfaces to prevent ice formation and be used in other applications for non-stick coatings. [url]
- Instead of repelling water, a superhydrophilic coating attracts water and can form a thin, transparent film of water on a surface. So no more foggy mirrors with this ceramic coating called CleanClear, but it might not replace windshield wipers if muddy water splashes on your car. [url]
- Super-hydrophobic surfaces can be created with lasers etching. So far, this method only works on metals — and it takes an hour to etch a 1 square inch waterproof pattern, but the researchers are working on speeding up the process and applying it to other materials. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.