A material that most liquids won't wet.
January 20, 2013 10:27 AM   Subscribe

"A nanoscale coating that's at least 95 percent air repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface...". Video of the coating in action.
posted by Evernix (47 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
What happens if you drink it?
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:34 AM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Obvious uses: clothing for the military that repels rain."

Or for, like, normal people. I'd buy it. Like, right now. Hook me up, plz. You can even pour weird liquids over me for the commercials. I don't care.
posted by sixohsix at 10:35 AM on January 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


> TwelveTwo: What happens if you drink it?

Well, either the acids and enzymes in your stomach are good enough to break down the polymer and you digest it and survive. Or, you never digest anything ever again and die in a week.
posted by sixohsix at 10:37 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


All I know is that I could really use some stain resistant clothes for cooking. I'm just to lazy to put on an apron, yet spastic enough to splash stuff on myself all of the time.
posted by mollweide at 10:42 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cat Armor.
posted by phaedon at 10:50 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


President's assistants mandatory wardrobe *wink*
posted by elpapacito at 10:58 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I could really use some stain resistant clothes...

As good a times as any to recommend Alec Guiness's comedy The Man in the White Suit.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:09 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


What happens if you drink it?

How would you even go about drinking it?
posted by Authorized User at 11:19 AM on January 20, 2013


"Obvious uses: clothing for the military that repels rain.

Or for, like, normal people. I'd buy it. Like, right now. Hook me up, plz. You can even pour weird liquids over me for the commercials. I don't care."


You won't pay $1million+ per treatment out of the public treasury.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:27 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


But does it wick away moisture?
posted by chavenet at 11:31 AM on January 20, 2013


I'd pay good money to get the green waste bin treated with this stuff immediately.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:31 AM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, wet T-shirt contests are going to be less interesting.
posted by anothermug at 11:32 AM on January 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


A very large field, of which this is one tiny result. See citations to the more groundbreaking work this prof did earlier on as part of someone elses group.
posted by lalochezia at 11:40 AM on January 20, 2013


Everything's great until we find out this is what made zombies happen.
posted by emjaybee at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


ooh, is it like lotus leaves?
posted by emeiji at 11:48 AM on January 20, 2013


I hope that the solution smells better than the stuff I used way back then to silanize sequencing glass plates. (Remember those huge things?)
posted by francesca too at 12:01 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Liquid repelling nanoscale coating is another thing Metafilter does not do well.
posted by mazola at 12:05 PM on January 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's more like the microstructure of the wax extruded by some desert-adapted tenebrionid beetles than the surface of lotus leaves. This stuff has many pores, not many bumps.

It does not wick away moisture.

It's the in the same class of chemicals from which SUGRU is made.

I would be concerned about how well it stays adhered to itself and to its substrate. It's totally okay if it comes off in big chunks that are bigger than 2.5 microns. If it comes off in little nanoscale particles, and you make clothes out of it (like goretex), you would be wearing a constant source of little particles that can take a one-way trip into your lungs.

I'll wait for the second generation fabric, after the infantry has tested it.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


If this material can resist staining considerably, then coated clothes will not need washing and will be durable.
posted by Ahmed_Nabil at 12:36 PM on January 20, 2013


Since the water repelling property depends on it's shape, I imagine they can just create it so that shape is only on one side and the other side adheres just fine. It's not a coating you can drink, it's a material, like a fabric.
posted by empath at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2013


This is insanely cool, but what happens when the surfaces abrade and bits of the coating enter the environment?
posted by LarryC at 12:48 PM on January 20, 2013


Assuming it's food safe (not a great assumption), the inside of water (and other) pipelines would seem to be a natural for this coating, wouldn't you think? Or is my grasp of physics so rudimentary that my near-frictionless pipe isn't how that would work?

Also, I would like to coat my car with this stuff, too.
posted by maxwelton at 12:55 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a Dilbert cartoon where the bald little guy explains that since he's totally clean when he gets out of the shower, there is no need for him to wash the towels in his house ever.
posted by colie at 12:56 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, wet T-shirt contests are going to be less interesting

And more repellent.
posted by zippy at 1:02 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


The real test for any DWR (durable water repellent) is how D (durable) it is. The finishes available now work great, when they are new. But, they quickly wear off.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2013


They should make tortillas with this. It would finally solve the pressing problem of wanting a decent-sized helping salsa verde (or any other liquid condiment) on your burrito without making the whole thing soggy.

I smell a Nobel Prize.
posted by MattMangels at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet the cat just hid out in the back of his owner's RV and rode home.
posted by Colonel Panic at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2013


Cat Armor

I'm assuming for the owner, because he's not in any danger.
posted by arcticseal at 2:34 PM on January 20, 2013


Please please please tell me I can put this on the bottom of my feet and do the crazy lizard jesus trick, even if just for a few seconds.
posted by crayz at 3:56 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


MIT's been on a similar track. Their PR trick is ketchup.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:23 PM on January 20, 2013


My favorite part was how they ran through the gamut of common Japanese liquids at the end. Soy sauce, hydrochloric acid, tea, sulfuric acid. Yep, all things I see at the asian market in town.
posted by cschneid at 5:56 PM on January 20, 2013


I don't see how you could make clothing out of this without massively over heating, since if they block all water it would soon get so humid inside them you'd stop sweating.
posted by fshgrl at 6:08 PM on January 20, 2013


I realize I'm supposed to be amazed by this coating, but what I actually fixated on was the variable speed pump which is seen sitting sideways on a scissor jack at around 1:25 in the video. I have an identical one in the lab. We use it to pump grape juice into an MRI scanner.
posted by Nomyte at 6:12 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Water vapour will pass through a membrane that blocks liquid water (it's how house wraps work). Also one could have assorted properly designed mesh vents that would allow for ventilation without affecting water shedding.
posted by Mitheral at 6:12 PM on January 20, 2013


I would assume the sweat would stay on your body and eventually evaporate away (giving you same heat retention as a naked person), or it would roll down the inside of the clothes and exit through the the nearest opening - like a shirt hem or pant cuffs.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:01 PM on January 20, 2013


I've noticed some of the brassica greens in my garden (kale, collards, etc) are perfectly water-resistant, if not repellent. Raindrops just sit on the leaves without soaking in at all, and then slide off. Anybody know if any clever engineers have exploited this in making new materials, such as raincoats made of kale?
posted by Zerowensboring at 8:03 PM on January 20, 2013


Also, Gore-Tex and assorted other coating brand names are advertised waterproof but breathable already, it's an established field. These coatings are PFTE (teflon) which is hydrophobic enough. The hard part is making it stick to the fabric. The coating does reduce water evaporation, though. Natural fabrics such as cotton or wool breathe better than teflon-coated.
posted by ikalliom at 8:10 PM on January 20, 2013


phaedon : Cat Armor.

My first thougt was that this would be referring to armoring human clothes as a way of keeping cat hair off of them (that alone would be a brilliant application), but the more I started contemplating the possibilities, the more I like the idea of cat armor; waterproof armor for a cat.

Because once, ostensibly water repelling, cats, as high-speed spraybottle targets, becomes a far less cruel sport.
posted by quin at 8:10 PM on January 20, 2013


Cat armor.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:40 PM on January 20, 2013


I have an identical one in the lab. We use it to pump grape juice into an MRI scanner.

Is this like the watermelon in Buckaroo Banzai's lab?
posted by hattifattener at 9:09 PM on January 20, 2013


Water vapour will pass through a membrane that blocks liquid water

Will it pass through this though? Goretex basically works off of size differential. This is nano tech, to quote the article "It hugs the pore structure of whatever surface it's being applied to, and it also creates a finer web within those pores."

It would be pretty amazing for a lot of things, stopping ice from forming on surfaces for example.
posted by fshgrl at 9:48 PM on January 20, 2013


The outboard motor in the video had me wondering what when a propellor is coated with this stuff. Would it be more efficient? More likely to cavicate?

What if an airplane were coated in it? Would it still be able to fly? What if the airplane was on a treadmill?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 PM on January 20, 2013


There was a Dilbert cartoon where the bald little guy explains that since he's totally clean when he gets out of the shower, there is no need for him to wash the towels in his house ever.

The punchline in the next frame is him (Wally, I think) asking, "Should a towel bend?"
posted by DigDoug at 5:50 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


superomniphobicilisticexpialidocious
posted by zombieApoc at 7:11 AM on January 21, 2013


Coat my Nook in this please.
posted by BurnChao at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2013


If this material can resist staining considerably, then coated clothes will not need washing and will be durable.

The Man in the White Suit.


Capital's side of the story: "We need complete control of this discovery."
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:34 PM on January 21, 2013


What happens when you pour acidic powder on it?
posted by Chuffy at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2013


« Older A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guess...  |  Take a copy of Monopoly, cover... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments