New York: How about a smart phone or a shoe that repels water so strongly that it causes liquid droplets to “bounce off” its surface!
Possible. Researchers have created a super-hydrophobic surface to make any surface super waterproof.
“To create a super-hydrophobic surface, you cannot just do that with a coating like Teflon or wax you have to actually put a structure on it,” explained professor Julie Crockett from Brigham Young University in Utah.
Existing waterproofing involves spraying surfaces with a coating.
By adding tiny structures to the surface instead, droplets bounce rather than roll off, she added.
In her lab, the team used rib and cavity structures as well as posts that the water sits on top of, like a ball.
As the water droplet falls on to the super-hydrophobic surface, it spreads out like a traditional drop on a surface.
“In nature, lotus leaves do this really well, so what we do in the lab is similar to what we observe on the lotus leaf,” she noted.
The surfaces could be applied to solar panels that do not get dirty or can self-clean when water rolls off of them, or showers, tubs or toilets that prevent water spots forming.
It could also be used on bio-medical devices, said the study published in journal Physics of Fluids.