Sunday, 3 June 2012

A couple of applications of superhydrophobic coatings

There have been several examples of superhydrophobic coatings in the news over the past year: LiquiGlide; Liquipel; and NeverWet. I think we are at the tip of the iceberg on how far-reaching this technology will be. My guess for the future is that 95% of products will use this technology in some form. And the main reason why is that we live in a word dominated by water: we are over half water, as are most organisms; we both input and output water; the food we eat is also dependent on water to be grown; water is one of the few things piped into the average home (in the economically developed world); water is a component of the air (including rain); 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered by water; water is a commonly used heat exchanger; etc.

An interesting aspect of LiquiGlide is that it can be injested by humans without adverse effects (as it's made from food materials). It would be interesting to see if a coating of LiquiGlide could be applied to teeth, perhaps at the dentist or a home treatment. Making teeth superhydrophobic could potentially reduce tooth decay, plaque, etc.

Another potential application would be to apply this coating to tableware, which could make washing up much easier, saving time, cost and potentially allowing greater automation.

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