Superomniphobic Coating CreatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: January 29, 2013 08:44AM
I remember in chemistry having to always wear an apron because some of the chemicals we worked with one did not want touching skin or clothes. Sometimes the chemical would just leave a stain, but other times it could actually damage something, like an acid dissolving a material. Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered a material that blocks a great majority of chemicals, including water, organic acids, solvents, alcohols, and oils, which would save a lot of clothing from stains and chemical damage.
This coating is a mixture of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and nanoscale cubes, first developed by the Air Force, that resist liquids. The researchers used electrospinning to pull the mixture out of solution and into a solid, which they coated onto small screens and stamp-sized pieces of fabric. As the coating is applied it takes on the structure of the surface it is being put on, including any pores, and then adds fine filaments across the pores. The result is a coating with so many pockets that a liquid poured on it may only touch 1-5% of it; 95-99% is just touching air. With so little contact, the liquids the researchers poured on the coating just bounced off.
This superomniphobic material could have a variety of uses from making breathable and chemically-resistant clothing to paints that reduce drag on ships. Its potential really just depends on one's imagination and the ability to produce the coating.
Source: University of Michigan