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Nano tech to the rescue
February 24, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

At Ross Nanotechnology, we have developed a super hydrophobic coating that completely repels water and heavy oils. Any object coated with our NeverWet™ coating literally cannot be touched by liquid. Any liquid placed on this coating is repelled and simply rolls off without touching the underlying surface. Not only is this amazing to see, but it solves a myriad of problems.
posted by leigh1 (85 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
EMF, proud partner of Ross Nanotechnology.
posted by swift at 8:54 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if I coated a cat with this and dropped it in a bath tub full of water?
posted by spicynuts at 8:56 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If they could turn it into a spray, or bond it to shoe material, it'd be the second coming of Scotchguard.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:56 AM on February 24, 2012


I'm surprised that Big Squeegee let this see the light of day.

Seriously, though - I remember a character in Arthur C. Clarke's The Ghost of the Grand Banks who got fabulously wealthy with a similar sort of invention, though if memory serves, it was some sort of low-level force field instead.
posted by jquinby at 8:57 AM on February 24, 2012


Zeus, you should look at the second video.
posted by exhilaration at 8:57 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I wonder if any cell phone manufacturers will look this up and apply it en masse.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is so cool! I have to admit there seem to be endless possibilities to this. I wonder what the side effects are/if there are any? Like its super toxic or wears off a la teflon.
posted by Carillon at 9:00 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very nice, but when will it be available to muggles?
posted by theodolite at 9:00 AM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


What if I coated a cat with this and dropped it in a bath tub full of water?

You couldn't coat a cat as they are mostly made of water.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you put it on the bottom of your shoes, does it turn water into repulsion gel?
posted by restless_nomad at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks exhilaration. The tech looks like it's there, just needs the business models to work out. Love the demo of the protected shoe and jacket.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2012


And what happens, pray tell, if some of this stuff leaks into the drinking water?
posted by three blind mice at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


There seem to be a bunch of companies doing this lately, including HzO and Liquipel, the latter of which actually has a waterproofing service you can order online right now.
posted by yeoz at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2012


And what happens, pray tell, if some of this stuff leaks into the drinking water?

Kurt Vonnegut has the last laugh.
posted by permafrost at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2012 [34 favorites]


If they could turn it into a spray, or bond it to shoe material, it'd be the second coming of Scotchguard.

ON STEROIDS!!!!
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:03 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the side effects are/if there are any? Like its super toxic or wears off a la teflon.

The number one enemy of progress is questions.
(Jello Biafra)
posted by philip-random at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Would this work well as a coating for boat hulls?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:05 AM on February 24, 2012


I guess this answers the question "Could God create a coating so coaty that not even God himself could coat it?"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


And what happens, pray tell, if some of this stuff leaks into the drinking water?

I am more interested in what happens when someone inevitably coats his genitals with it.
posted by griphus at 9:07 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I wonder is how well a coated material would work with breathability and or allowing sweat to evaporate. Gunk proof sneakers would be awesome, but not if I am ankle deep in sweat after wearing them for a while...
posted by Samizdata at 9:07 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, is it blue and does it vibrate?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:08 AM on February 24, 2012


The excellent Alec Guinness comedy "The Man in the White Suit" is all about someone who invents this.
posted by w0mbat at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Would this work well as a coating for boat hulls?

Duhhh no, your boat would just sink to the bottom cause all the water would get out of the way!
posted by orme at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


good for those who own black couches (if you know what I mean)
posted by nathancaswell at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if you can coat an ice cube with it.
posted by bondcliff at 9:12 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm more interested in their blue repulsion and orange acceleration gels.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:13 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now they need a best of breed video editor who knows that, if you're going to have narration, and Jesus Jones rocking out, through your promo video, you probably want to kill the underlying audio of guys just uh, you know, kind of... yeah... talking about stuff that came with the original video clips you're using.
posted by Naberius at 9:14 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


jquinby: Seriously, though - I remember a character in Arthur C. Clarke's The Ghost of the Grand Banks who got fabulously wealthy with a similar sort of invention, though if memory serves, it was some sort of low-level force field instead.

If memory serves he invents a vibrating film which you put on car windshields which vibrates water off it. He originally had the whole glass vibrate but it gave him a headache.

Also, I don't know about you, but any product video soundtracked with EMF's "Unbelievable" gives of a buyer-beware vibe.
posted by Kattullus at 9:14 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The coating is hydrophobic for sure, but I'd really like to see the oil-repellant characteristics too.

Usually, the choice is one or the other: a surface is water-repellant or oil-repellant. Making something water-repellant is easier because water has "strong" surfaces compared with oils. In my experience, heavy oils will stick to almost anything. I've tested a number of oils, heavy and light, for stickiness (mass per unit area) on a few kinds of materials from rocks to fabrics to teflon to stainless steel. Oils will wet them all. Being water- and oil-repellent at once would be a really important breakthrough.
posted by bonehead at 9:15 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Right, EMF, not Jesus Jones.

But honestly, when you get to be my age, one egomaniacal 80s British one hit wonder band is pretty much like another.
posted by Naberius at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, how does it work? I poked around the site a little and didn't see any explanation of the chemistry behind it. I've wasted enough time there - anybody have a link?

And I'm also wondering what the hidden downside is. There's always a downside - it's like the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics or something. Toxicity? The stuff flakes off like mad after a few months' exposure to UV light, gloms up essential micro-organisms in the soil/water, brings the entire planetary ecosystem crashing down?
posted by Quietgal at 9:17 AM on February 24, 2012


If you coat the bottom of a boat with it, the boat will magically sail through the air.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:19 AM on February 24, 2012


The coating is hydrophobic for sure, but I'd really like to see the oil-repellant characteristics too.There was one demonstration with canned turkey gravy and another with peanut butter. But maybe those have enough water in them that it's not the same as a pure oil?
posted by XMLicious at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2012


The spray-on stuff has a fairly obvious hazard associated with getting it inside of you.

Both of the clothing items demo'd in that video were white, and I'm guessing that repelling the dye out of your shirt might be a common side effect.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2012


There seem to be a bunch of companies doing this lately, including HzO and Liquipel

The Liquipel version was the subject of a post just a few weeks back.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2012


NeverWet™? How could they not call this DucksBack™?
posted by Zed at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hyperbolic coatings repel facts.
posted by benzenedream at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you can stop barnacles being able to settle on boats with this (and they do require water+contact), that alone will have ensured them extreme riches until patent expiry.
posted by jaduncan at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or Zebra mussels...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:26 AM on February 24, 2012


From a Wired blog post last November:
Like any superhero, NeverWet has its Kryptonite, in this case alcohol and soap. Both of these will cause NeverWet to get wet, but a quick rinse with water will restore its magical properties.
posted by XMLicious at 9:26 AM on February 24, 2012




NeverWet™? How could they not call this DucksBack™?


Try saying DucksBack outloud in a infomercial voice. Yeah. That's why.
posted by spicynuts at 9:27 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. You don't test neverwet on a crappy old sheet of glass. You test it on the deeds to the inventor's house.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:29 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you coat the bottom of a boat with it, the boat will magically sail through the air.


In the Chuck Jones universe, it would immediately sink to the bottom of the ocean.
posted by zamboni at 9:29 AM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If everything is nanotechnology then nothing is nanotechnology.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2012


Nanotechnology is just chemistry in a fancy dress.</grumpyoldpchemist>
posted by bonehead at 9:32 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


am more interested in what happens when someone inevitably coats his genitals with it

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!
posted by Fizz at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Is this the end of drunk college girls having to get a new cell phone every time they drop it in the toilet? Sweet Jesus, thank you, Ross Nanotechnologies.
posted by 3FLryan at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2012


griphus: "And what happens, pray tell, if some of this stuff leaks into the drinking water?

I am more interested in what happens when someone inevitably coats his genitals with it.
"

Heh - I was wondering what a condom coated in this stuff would do...
posted by symbioid at 9:36 AM on February 24, 2012


though if memory serves, it was some sort of low-level force field instead.

You say that like electrostatic repulsion isn't a force-field.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:44 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Underarms of work shirts, no icky anti perspirate stains.
posted by Damienmce at 9:44 AM on February 24, 2012


Ski's and snowboards.
posted by stbalbach at 9:51 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


0 degrees is a completely flat drop

Seriously no one at Ross caught that pun? Seriously?
posted by victory_laser at 9:53 AM on February 24, 2012


So alcohol and soap will wet NeverWet? That doesn't bode well for its oil-repelling properties. Sure you can rinse those off, but they are conveniently water-soluble. What about other stuff that isn't water-soluble, like hydrocarbons and silicones?

Ah well, a coating that repels the easy stuff would still be nice (I'm looking at you, grungy kitchen sink) as long as it doesn't trash the planet. But when has that ever stopped us?
posted by Quietgal at 9:54 AM on February 24, 2012


bonehead: "Nanotechnology is just chemistry in a fancy dress.</grumpyoldpchemist>"

Chemistry is just physics in drag.
posted by Splunge at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was only semi-impressed until I got the chocolate on the shoe. That's some damn science there.
posted by DU at 10:01 AM on February 24, 2012


The mud puddle. Sweet Jebus. THE MUD PUDDLE.
posted by DU at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2012


Underarms of work shirts, no icky anti perspirate stains.

Except rather than ring-around-the-collar and pit stains the sweat will settle in the first place it finds uncoated. I'm not sure belly stains, or ring-around-the-waistband are better.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:20 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I await the release of NeverNude™, an incredibly powerful adhesive that functions only between human skin and denim.
posted by exogenous at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


bonehead: "Nanotechnology is just chemistry in a fancy dress."

Chemistry is just physics in drag.
posted by Splunge


Physics is just God misinterpreted.
posted by philip-random at 10:26 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


God is is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store.
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I could sell the crap out of this stuff to screen printers if it would keep the plastisol off the sneakers. Inkfoot is a terrible disease.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If memory serves he invents a vibrating film which you put on car windshields which vibrates water off it. He originally had the whole glass vibrate but it gave him a headache.

Rain-X. It's pretty much voodoo magic and indispensable in Pacific Northwest (autumns/)winters(/springs). I remember sitting at a stop light once, wind blowing like crazy, and watching the rain stream sideways off the windshield. Usually don't even need to use the wipers on the freeway since the airflow pushes the water off on its own.
posted by curious nu at 10:39 AM on February 24, 2012


So alcohol and soap will wet NeverWet? That doesn't bode well for its oil-repelling properties. Sure you can rinse those off, but they are conveniently water-soluble. What about other stuff that isn't water-soluble, like hydrocarbons and silicones?

The video on the home page ("see it in action") demonstrates with a variety of liquids, ending with motor oil.
posted by misskaz at 10:41 AM on February 24, 2012


Would this work well as a coating for boat hulls?

Why not, other than the toxic nature*. Up until the radiation mutated bacteria in the Pacific used it as a food source. The resulting biofilm is worse for ships.

*Only guessing it is toxic.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:42 AM on February 24, 2012


The video on the home page ("see it in action") demonstrates with a variety of liquids, ending with motor oil.

Thanks, I'd missed that on the media page. There's some surface attachment/wetting going on with the motor oil that they show, though it doesn't remain on the surface at that high angle. This is similar to the behaviour of oil on teflon or other fluro-plastics, which are oil-repellant to a degree, will retain some oil. I wonder how it would do with a heavy fuel or asphalt stock?
posted by bonehead at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2012


It's a thin-film coating, which means it's likely fantastically expensive to apply unless you're working with tremendous volumes, and probably not applicable with a spray bottle to any surface that you come across. (However, the fact that they seem to have applied it to a number of large surfaces suggests that they're using one of the more inexpensive coating methods)

It also necessarily needs to be the top layer of the surface that it's being applied to, which makes me wonder about its durability. You never see them touch the surface with anything other than water or a soft cloth. If this stuff has the "Teflon frying pan problem," it'll be unsuitable for windshields and the like.
posted by schmod at 11:01 AM on February 24, 2012


Given it's surface behaviour (high contact angle, acid resistance, slightly oleophobic), I'm guessing it's some sort of flurocarbon, which means a) it won't be cheap and ii) it will likely have substrate bonding problems, particularly for mechanical abrasion, just like teflon.
posted by bonehead at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2012


schmod: they do spray it with a pressure washer for an hour, so it's not super fragile.
posted by aubilenon at 11:22 AM on February 24, 2012


I await the release of NeverNude™, an incredibly powerful adhesive that functions only between human skin and denim.

It only comes in blue.
posted by hanoixan at 11:30 AM on February 24, 2012


I await the release of NeverNude™, an incredibly powerful adhesive that functions only between human skin and denim.


That would usefully counteract current skin/cloth lubricants like, oh, say, whiskey.
posted by jquinby at 11:33 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


All the benefits of snug cotton underpants erased with one wave of the nanotech wand...
posted by VicNebulous at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2012


The properties on air-water surfaces are neat to think about (does it increase cavitation? does it die under cavitation stress? does is decrease drag?). Also, how more complex biology interacts with it. Soap wets it, but how dilute can the soap be? Do biological detergents / surfactants get to it?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:45 AM on February 24, 2012


> Duhhh no, your boat would just sink to the bottom cause all the water would get out of the way!

Paging Moses!
posted by mmrtnt at 11:55 AM on February 24, 2012


If you coat all your clothes, won't you kind of poach or sous vide cook yourself to death in a cloud of steam and body heat?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:36 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vapor barriers are sometimes used in clothing but they are kind of hardcore.
posted by exogenous at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2012


If you put it on the bottom of your shoes, does it turn water into repulsion gel?

What if I put it on the bottom of my hoverboard?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:35 PM on February 24, 2012


As much as I complain about how slowly progress seems to be made these days, we really are living in the future.
posted by wierdo at 3:24 PM on February 24, 2012


Unbelievable.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:58 PM on February 24, 2012


What happens if you coat your SWITL with this stuff? Something cool, I bet.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:11 PM on February 24, 2012


Having just biked home through four miles of Seattle rain, I suddenly have a new appreciation for the possibilities of this stuff. Namely, my glasses.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:35 PM on February 24, 2012


Obvious problem #1: It's a spray? Like inhale it in your lungs? Thanks NeverWet for instant death!

Obvious problem #2: Fabric is flexible. It's not glass. So taking bonding into consideration, this product expands / contracts with no degradation?

Amazing!
posted by Benway at 6:04 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Hyperbolic coatings repel facts.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:10 PM on February 24, 2012


I really want a spray can of this! The whole thing about the toilet plunger sold me. Toilet plungers are disgusting.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:19 PM on February 24, 2012


Come on, people, you're missing the big picture here.

Our Gremlin problem is solved.
posted by bjrubble at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2012


ShutterBun: "What happens if you coat your SWITL with this stuff? Something cool, I bet."

The universe explodes.

Thanks... Ass...
posted by Samizdata at 11:17 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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