Nano-scale coating that repels liquids

13 February 2013

A Nano-scale coating that is at least 95% air, repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface, according to the University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed it.

In addition to super stain-resistant clothes, the coating could lead to breathable garments to protect soldiers and scientists from chemicals and advanced waterproof paints that dramatically reduce drag on ships.

"Virtually any liquid you throw on it bounces right off without wetting it. For many of the other similar coatings, very low surface tension liquids such as oils, alcohols, organic acids, organic bases and solvents stick to them and they could start to diffuse through and that’s not what you want,” said Anish Tuteja, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Macro-molecular Science and Engineering. Tuteja and his colleagues tested more than 100 liquids and found only two that were able to penetrate the coating. They were chlorofluorocarbons – chemicals used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

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