2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Coatings

Liquipel is a nanocoating claimed to protect mobile devices from 'accidental water damage'

We all know that water and mobile electronic devices aren’t a good mix. But living on a world whose surface is around 70 percent water can sometimes make it hard to keep the two separate. While wrapping your device in a waterproof case will provide protection, they add bulk and can sometimes affect usability. California-based company Liquipel claims to have developed a hydrophobic nanocoating one thousand times thinner than a human hair that can be applied to a smartphone to protect it from accidental spills without affecting its functionality.  Read More

A plastic material inspired by the leaves of the aquatic weed Salvinia molesta may lead to...

It may be an invasive weed that’s fouling waterways in the U.S., Australia and other countries, but it turns out that Salvinia molesta has at least one good point – it’s inspired a man-made coating that could help ships stay afloat. The upper surface of the floating plant’s leaves are coated with tiny water-repellent hairs, each of which is topped with a bizarre eggbeater-like structure. These hairs trap a layer of air against the leaf, reducing friction and providing buoyancy, while the eggbeaters grab slightly at the surrounding water, providing stability. Scientists at Ohio State University have successfully replicated these hairs in plastic, creating a buoyant coating that is described as being like “a microscopic shag carpet.”  Read More

The new super-black coating made from hollow carbon nanotubes prevents reflection because ...

When it comes to gathering measurements of objects so distant in the universe that they can no longer be seen in visible light, the smallest amount of stray light can play havoc with the sensitive detectors and other instrument components used by astronomers. Currently, instrument developers use black paint on baffles and other components to help prevent stray light ricocheting off surfaces, but the paint absorbs only 90 percent of the light that strikes it. NASA engineers have now developed a nanotech-based coating that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it, making it promising for a variety of space- and Earth-bound applications.  Read More

DLC-coated plowshare (Image: Martin Horner/Fraunhofer IWM)

Plows are one of the most basic agricultural implements and have been in use for thousands of years. In that time they’ve evolved from simple ox-drawn scratch plows consisting of a frame holding a vertical wooden stick dragged through the topsoil – which are still used in many parts of the world – to tractor-mounted plows that can have as many as 18 moldboards. The evolution of the humble plow looks set to continue with Fraunhofer scientists working on diamond-like carbon (DLC)-coated plowshares that would slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter, thereby requiring less fuel.  Read More

The graphene coating, seen above as a dark blue patch connected to gold contacts, generate...

Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy, supplying around 20 percent of the world’s electricity in 2006, which accounted for about 88 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Now researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water using a nanoengineered graphene coating. The new technology only produces small amounts of electricity so isn’t aimed at large scale electricity production, but rather at self-powered microsensors to be used in oil exploration.  Read More

The University of Georgia has developed a permanent spray-on antibacterial coating, that c...

A University of Georgia chemist has invented something that should be a boon to both hospital staff and athletes ... a permanent spray-on antibacterial polymer coating. It can be applied to natural and synthetic materials – just once – and even after repeated washings, will continue to kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. In health care settings, it could be used on textiles such as lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens, to protect patients from infections. It could also be used on athletic wear, along with shoes, socks, undergarments, and just about anything else that tends to get germy.  Read More

Two newly-developed coatings could protect the jet engines of airliners from the harmful e...

Following last April’s historic eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, commercial flights were cancelled within most of Europe for several days – it was the largest disruption of air travel since the Second World War. Well, while no one is suggesting that airliners could now merrily fly right through clouds of ash, researchers from Ohio State University (OSU) have developed a coating that they say could allow jet engines to better withstand small amounts of volcanic ash that are ingested over time.  Read More

Researchers have developed what they say is the world's first-ever permanent anti-fog coat...

Tired of your glasses fogging up on cold days, or of having to spit in your dive mask before putting it on? Those hassles may become a thing of the past, as researchers from Quebec City’s Université Laval have developed what they claim is the world’s first permanent anti-fog coating. Just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface.  Read More

Scientists have coated paper with silver nanoparticles, to create a 'killer paper' packagi...

Silver is a known killer of harmful bacteria, and has already been incorporated into things such as antibacterial keyboards, washing machines, water filters, and plastic coatings for medical devices. Now, scientists have added another potential product to the list: silver nanoparticle-impregnated “killer paper" packaging, that could help keep food from spoiling.  Read More

How humans see the Bird-Protection Glass (left) and how birds see it (right)

Someone has apparently crunched the numbers and estimated that more than 100 million birds are killed every year due to collisions with glass surfaces – not to mention the untold numbers of beverages spilt by surprised people as a bird slams into a nearby window. Birds see the tree or sky reflected in a window or the environment behind the glazing, but not the glass itself. German company Glaswerke Arnold (or Arnold Glass) has come up with a simple way to prevent these collisions by producing a glass that appears normal to humans but is visible to birds.  Read More

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