Paint makes tough self-cleaning surfaces

15 June 2015

A new paint coating that makes robust self-cleaning surfaces, has been developed by a team of researchers from UCL, Imperial College London and China’s Dalian University of Technology.
The coating can be applied to clothes, paper, glass and steel and when combined with adhesives, maintains its self-cleaning properties after being wiped, scratched with a knife and scuffed with sandpaper.
The paint, made from coated TiO2 nanoparticles, can give a wide-range of materials self-cleaning properties, even during and after immersion in oil and following damage to the surface.
Self-cleaning surfaces work by being extremely repellent to water but often stop working when they are damaged or exposed to oil. The new paint creates a more resilient surface that is resistant to everyday wear and tear, so could be used for a wide range of real-world applications from clothing and cars, say the researchers.
Extremely water-repellent surfaces cause water to ball into tight droplets. When these roll about on the surface, they pick up dirt, viruses and bacteria, cleaning it without any scrubbing. In this way, a rain shower could clean a car instead of making it dirty.
Different coating methods were used to create the water repellent surfaces, depending on the material. An artist’s spray-gun was used to coat glass and steel, dip-coating for cotton wool and a syringe to apply the paint on to paper.

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