This superhydrophobic coating is truly stunning
by Christopher MacManus November 11, 2011 3:53 PM PST
A superhydrophobic spray-on coating set to launch next year could dramatically change our perception of the phrase "water resistant."
NeverWet is a patent-pending silicon-based covering that deflects nearly all liquids and heavy oils by creating a very high contact angle upon application. The angle is much higher than traditional substrates, such as car wax (90 degrees), Teflon (95 degrees), or Rain-X (110 degrees). Liquid literally glides off NeverWet's 160 degree to 175 degree angle in a way that almost seems like computer animation, as seen in the video below.
Left: Contact angles of various surfaces. Right: A droplet sitting on a the superhydrophobic surface of a lotus leaf, which is extremely difficult to get wet.
(Credit: Ross Nanotechnologies)
At first glance, the mind-bending NeverWet comes across as a liquid repellent, but it is much more than that. Surfaces that are sprayed with NeverWet repel ice, corrosion, and even bacteria. The company behind the product, Ross Nanotechnologies, says on its Web site that the material does not fade in strength from blasts of high pressure. In fact, it even states that NeverWet-infused materials "have remained under seawater for over a year and reemerged completely dry."
A dramatic video by the company also demonstrates something unbelievable: a waterproof iPhone. A video shows an iPhone covered in NeverWet, sitting in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, remaining fully functional the entire time it is submerged. Other potential applications include a variety of objects and places, such as shoes, electrical equipment, clothing, hospitals, bathroom products, and much more.
Lancaster Online has an informative interview with several of the people behind NeverWet, including co-inventor Vinod Sikka. He admits to the Pennsylvania newspaper, "It's challenging to break into the coatings market. People have been using the same stuff from the same suppliers for a long time. It is very novel, and when you start thinking about it, you can think about how transformative the technology can be," Jones said. "You can use it everywhere."
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