Slippery substance-secreting SLUGs to stop ice buildup

Anyone who's tried to travel by air during winter might know how frustrating it can be to sit on the tarmac while ice is removed from the wings of the aircraft. A truck spraying the wings with a de-icing agent might get the job done, but it also means precious travel time is wasted. To reduce downtime, scientists have developed a material that secretes a slick substance when temperatures drop to prevent ice from sticking to the wings in the first place.Read More


New material is super water-resistant, cheap and safe

Scientists at Rice University, the University of Swansea, the University of Bristol and the University of Nice - Sophia Antipolis have developed a new class of hydrocarbon-based material that they say could be "greener" substitute for fluorocarbon-based materials currently used to repel water. Read More


Slick coating keeps steel clean and tough

When liquids stick to steel for long enough, the steel corrodes or becomes contaminated. Unfortunately, however, porous surface coatings that repel liquids also tend to make steel weaker … until now, that is. Scientists at Harvard University have recently discovered that their existing SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces) technology not only causes liquids to roll right off, but it actually makes steel stronger.Read More


Hydrophobic nanostructures stay dry for months underwater

By mimicking naturally-occurring nanostructures found in things like water striders, spiders and lotus leaves, scientists have created hydrophobic surfaces that could prove invaluable for everything from pipes to boats and submarines. Now researchers at Northwestern University have deduced the optimal texture roughness required to achieve this property and keep surfaces dry underwater for months at a time.Read More


New self-cleaning paint stands up to wear and tear

How would you like to be able to wash your car by just hosing it off – no soap, scrubbing or drying? You may be able to in the not-too-distant future, thanks to research being led by a team at University College London. Drawing on earlier research, they've developed an ultra-hydrophobic (water-repelling) paint that can be applied to a variety of surfaces, and that stays on once applied. Read More

Good Thinking

Hamburg walls use hydrophobic paint to pee back

Hamburg's St. Pauli is one of the world's most famous red light districts. It attracts around 20 million visitors a year, but it's also a bit smelly because, after a night on the tiles, a good number of those visitors urinate in public places. Now, in a fit of poetic justice, the walls of St. Pauli are being upgraded so they retaliate on micturators in kind. Read More


One man’s (milk)weed is another’s natural solution to oil spills

The humble milkweed may be a weed to most, but a company out of Granby, Quebec, is milking the plant for all it’s worth by developing a product for cleaning up oil slicks on land and water from milkweed fibers. Due to the fibers’ hollow shape – a unique feature in nature – and its naturally hydrophobic tendency, they repel water while absorbing more than four times more oil than the same amount of polypropylene materials currently used for spills. Read More


Surface coating for medical devices prevents blood clotting and bacterial infections

Our bodies have evolved to be pretty good at dealing with incursions by foreign objects and bacteria. Usually, that's a positive thing, but it can spell trouble for medical devices, such as replacement joints, cardiac implants and dialysis machines, which increase the risk of blood clots and bacterial infection. Now researchers at Harvard University have developed a surface coating that smooths the way for medical devices to do their job inside the human body. Read More


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