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Researchers Look at Super Hydrophobic Materials

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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Researchers at Espoo, Finland-based Aalto University recently published findings in the journal Nature about new potential uses for an armor-plated superhydrophobic material.

“Superhydrophobic surfaces repel water like nothing else,” a press release from the university notes.

“This makes them extremely useful for antimicrobial coatings—as bacteria, viruses and other pathogens cannot cling to their surfaces. However, superhydrophobic surfaces have one major flaw—they are extremely susceptible to cuts, scratches or dents. If a superhydrophobic surface gets damaged, the damaged area can trap liquids and the benefits of the coating are lost.”

The Research

To combat this, researchers from Finland and China have developed an “armor-plated” superhydrophobic surface that is reportedly more durable.

The work is for surfaces of metal, glass or ceramic and the researchers cite nanostructures in a “honeycomb” pattern.

“The armor can be made from almost any material, it’s the interconnection of the surface frame that makes it strong and rigid,” said Professor Robin Ras, a physicist at Aalto University whose research group was part of the project.

“We made the armor with honeycombs of different sizes, shapes and materials. The beauty of this result is that it is a generic concept that fits for many different materials, giving us the flexibility to design a wide range of durable waterproof surfaces.”

Researchers note that the of the many uses for the coating, one example is an application to photovoltaics, where a build-up of moisture and dirt can block the amount of light absorbed and impact electricity production.

“Making a solar panel out of a superhydrophobic glass surface would maintain their efficiencies over long periods of time,” the university said. “Furthermore, as solar cells are often on roof tops and other difficult to reach locations, the repellent coatings would cut down the amount of cleaning that is needed.”

Researchers said that they hope to further their work in pushing for commercialization of the material and explore broader applications.

   

Tagged categories: AS; Asia Pacific; Coatings Technology; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; hydrophobic coatings; Photovoltaic coatings; Research and development; Solar

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (6/16/2020, 9:57 AM)

Sounds like a good thing to research - I've thought for a long time that the critical flaw preventing wider adoption of superhydrophobic materials was how easy they are to damage.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (6/16/2020, 9:57 AM)

Sounds like a good thing to research - I've thought for a long time that the critical flaw preventing wider adoption of superhydrophobic materials was how easy they are to damage.


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