Water is one of the greatest treasure of this planet. It is one of the key ingredient that has made life possible on this planet, without it life is not possible. However essential water maybe but no one likes is on their cloths or shoes. Everyone dreams of drenching in rain without their cloths being wet. Well to everyone who every dreamt about it you wish has been fulfilled by researchers from ‘Rice University‘.
There’s no doubting that water repellent is a great way to keep clothing, shoes, and all other products safe and dry from water damage, but it involves toxic chemicals that aren’t good for us or the environment. To counter this a new water-repellent coating developed by researchers from Rice University is not only environmentally friendly, but also inexpensive to make. The repellent, consist of a new class of Superhydrophobic nano materials that has been developed taking inspiration from remarkable example of natural water repelling: ‘The Lotus Leaf’. According to the researchers, the lotus leaf’s remarkable ability to repel water is due to its hierarchy of microscopic and nano scale double structures.
Chemist Andrew Barron said:
“Nature knows how to make these materials and stay environmentally friendly, Our job has been to figure out how and why, and to emulate that. In the lotus leaf, these are due to papillae within the epidermis and epicuticular waxes on top, In our material, there is a micro structure created by the agglomeration of alumina nano particles mimicking the papillae and the hyper branched organic moieties simulating the effect of the epicuticular waxes. The textured surfaces of other super hydrophobic coatings are often damaged and thus reduce the hydrophobic nature, our material has a more random hierarchical structure that can sustain damage and maintain its effects.”
To qualify as super hydrophobic, a material needs a water contact angle larger than 150 degrees (a water contact angle is the angle at which the surface of the water meets the surface of the material). The researchers’ repellent has an angle of about 155 degrees, making it essentially equivalent to the best fluorocarbon-based super hydrophobic coatings on the market.
The researcher’s repellent can be applied to any surface via spray or spin-coating and is hydrocarbon-based, making it an economic and a green alternative to conventional fluorocarbon-based repellents that usually are both hazardous and costly to manufacture. In addition the coating will also be useful in marine applications, especially in environments where water needs to be kept safe from potentially dangerous additives like fluorocarbons.
Below is a video from Rice University to give you a visual sense about how effective this repellent is. Just look at those water droplets skedaddle!