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.
With the help of very high-power laser beams, researchers at the University of Rochester have created micro and nanostructures that turn metals black and make their surfaces very easy to keep clean and dry. The advance could help prevent icing and rust, collect heat more effectively and perhaps even translate to other materials, leading to water-repelling electronics.
Cashmere is a fine quality wool whose delicate nature generally means a trip to the dry cleaner is required to deal with any stains on an article of clothing made from the material. But now researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a self-cleaning coating made up of nanoparticles that removes stains from cashmere by exposing the garment to light.
Nissan is currently testing out a prototype that it says could make car washes a relic of the past. The test car benefits from a new nano-paint treatment that repels dirt and grime. The automaker is putting the car through the dirty wringer to see how well it holds up in the real world.
are right up there with adhesive tape, when it comes to being able to stick to things. Unlike tape, however, those feet retain their adhesive qualities even after many, many uses. Now, thanks to research being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, we may one day be using self-cleaning reusable gecko-inspired tape.
The close of 2013 gives us an excellent opportunity, though satiated with holiday feasts, to look back on a year that has been filled with scientific accomplishment. So it's time to get comfortable on your Binary Chair
, sip your hot cocoa from a phase-change mug
while your Foodini
prints out a batch of cookies and reflect on science stories of note from the past year.
Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D. and her team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have improved upon the Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS)
technology they developed back in 2012. The ultra smooth surface, which the team claims is the slipperiest known synthetic surface, has now been made transparent and more durable, giving it the potential to make the issues glass has with sticky liquids, frost and ice formation, and bacterial biofilms a thing of the past.
In what they're calling a breakthrough discovery, UCL researchers studying the properties of titanium dioxide catalysts, which are widely used in self-cleaning products and materials, claim to have challenged the accepted view of how mixed-phase samples of the material actually behave.
Last year, a group of Harvard University scientists led by Dr. Joanna Aizenberg announced the development of a highly-hydrophobic (water-repellant) material known as SLIPS
, or Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces. The material is remarkable, in that it repels virtually any liquid. Now, Aizenberg and colleagues have created a new material inspired by human tears, the repellency of which can be fine-tuned for different applications.
Butterfly wings cannot be very far behind geckos' toes so far as sources of inspiration for biomimicry research goes. Various properties of the wings of lepidopterans have triggered research into banknote forgery prevention
, light reflection
and solar cells
. New research from Ohio State University suggests the delicate membranes may hold clues to dirt-resistance surfaces.