A team of scientists from the University of Rochester have invented a way to turn metals into very water repellent materials. The ability of objects to repel water and other liquids is called hydrophobia.
The scientists call the metals that repel water super-hydrophobic, and say that there materials will be very useful for a number of things, such as preventing rust, sanitation objects and anti ice.
So far, most of the hydrophobic materials were only coated with a special substance that repelled liquids.
Chunlei Guo, one of the scientists who invented the super water-repellent material, said that they achieved this by using a special laser technique.
Guo and his colleague, Anatoly Vorobyev, both researchers at the Institute of Optics with the University of Rochester, explain that the laser they used is both very powerful and very precise. This laser can create intricate patterns of micro and nanoscale structures that give the metals new and special properties.
The recent invention is a follow-up to a previous project the two researchers were involved in, one that used a similar laser technique to turn all metals black.
Guo explained that using this new laser technique, they can create surfaces that will be multifunctional, not only very water-repellent, but also ones that are extremely absorbent optically.
Guo adds that one of the most relevant advantages of the new laser technique is that it creates structures that are part of the material surface, not just added on the material. This means that the special material will not wear off or rub off.
The new material is so water-repellent that when drops of water fall on its surface, the water is bounced off just like a rubber ball. The water drops do not get to remain on the surface; they will bounce up and down a few times and then roll of the material.
The super water-repellent material is more slippery than Teflon, Guo says. When the water bounces off the material it also collects any dust particles that may reside on the surface and takes it with it, thus cleaning the surface of any residues.
Image Source: voicechronicle