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Coatings

Far-infrared image of a building at night (Image: Robert Gubbins/Shutterstock)

Harvard Professor of Applied Physics Federico Capasso and his collaborators have invented a nearly perfect optical absorber. By coating a piece of sapphire with an exceedingly thin (180 nm) layer of vanadium dioxide (VO2), a surface is created that absorbs 99.75 percent of infrared light with a wavelength of 11.6 micron wavelength. Such optical absorbers can be tailored to enable a wide range of applications.  Read More

A graphene coating can make copper nearly 100 times more resistant to corrosion (Image: Sh...

Following on from news out of the University at Buffalo earlier this year that a graphene varnish could significantly slow the corrosion of steel, researchers from Monash and Rice Universities have used a graphene coating to improve copper’s resistance to corrosion by nearly 100 times. The researchers say such a dramatic extension of the metal’s useful life could result in significant cost savings for a wide range of industries.  Read More

Violent bubbling in boiling water may just be a thing of the past (Image: Northwestern Uni...

You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material.  Read More

Scientists have developed a hydrogel that lengthens the shelf life of bananas (Photo: Shut...

Just about everyone loves bananas, but there is one problem with the things – they have a way of becoming overripe before they can be eaten. Yesterday, however, a scientist from China’s Tianjin University of Science and Technology announced the development of a spray-on coating that is capable of keeping picked bananas fresh for almost two weeks.  Read More

An ultra-slippery surface treatment known as SLIPS has been shown to keep bacterial biofil...

Last June, scientists from Harvard University announced the development of their new SLIPS (Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces) technology. When used to coat surfaces, it is highly effective at keeping ice, frost, or just about any type of liquid from accumulating on them. Now, it turns out that SLIPS is also very good at keeping something else from getting a toehold – biofilms.  Read More

A sample of the man-made mother of pearl (top), compared to the real thing (Image: Nature)...

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is the hard iridescent coating found on the outside of pearls, and the inside of certain mollusc’s shells. Besides being a nice-looking material used for jewelry and other types of ornamentation, it’s also remarkably strong. Now, scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered how to make the stuff themselves.  Read More

A new self-cleaning coating technology could mean the end of the tiresome chore of washing...

Nissan’s "Scratch Guard Coat” has been healing fine scratches on the company’s cars for a few years now, and the technology has also made its way into an iPhone case. More recent developments have produced coatings to heal more substantial scratches and scrapes using nano-capsules. Now researchers at The Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a coating that is not only self-healing, but also promises to free car owners of the tiresome chore of washing the car.  Read More

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a window coating (not pictured) that lets in more li...

With many of us spending more and more time indoors, it can be a struggle to get the amount of sunlight our bodies crave. Modern heat-insulating, sun-protection glazing doesn’t help, as it reflects a noticeable percentage of the incident sunlight in the part of the spectrum that governs our hormonal balance. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) have developed a coating for windows that lets in more light, in particular those wavelengths of light that have a beneficial effect on our sense of well-being.  Read More

Brown University's Qi Wang swirls a solution of selenium nanoparticles

Although it’s known to kill bacteria, selenium has never been tried as an antibacterial coating for implanted medical devices ... until now, that is. Engineers from Rhode Island’s Brown University have applied coatings of selenium nanoparticles to pieces of polycarbonate – the material used for things like catheters and endotracheal tubes – and then exposed those samples to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In some cases, populations of the bacteria were subsequently reduced by up to 90 percent.  Read More

Ultra smooth SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces) developed at Harvard University could...

Although advances in refrigeration technology means we don’t need to defrost the freezer as often as we used to, many of us are still forced to carry out the task on a regular basis lest we find the frosty walls closing in to claim that tub of ice cream. Now a team from Harvard University has developed ultra smooth slippery surfaces that prevent ice sheets from developing by allowing even tiny drops of condensation or frost to simply slide off. As well as keeping freezers frost-free, the technology could be used to prevent ice build up on metal surfaces in wind turbines, marine vessels, and aircraft.  Read More

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