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News Science Technology

Simple Method Yields A Wrinkly, Durable, Water-Repellent Coating (acs.org) 76

ckwu writes: Superhydrophobic coatings that make water droplets dance and roll off of a surface show promise for applications such as self-cleaning cars, buildings, and food processing equipment. A new method creates a durable superhydrophobic coating by combining two common materials -- Teflon and a shrinkable plastic -- in a few simple steps. The researchers took inspiration from work done with the polystyrene material found in Shrinky Dinks -- the children's crafting kit. They deposited Teflon onto a similar material called PolyShrink, heated it, and found that the Teflon formed a crinkled surface that caused water to bead and roll off easily. The best results came from polyolefin shrink wrap coated with a 10nm-thick layer of Teflon. What's more, the surface is durable, having about the same scratch resistance as an aluminum coating, and repels water even after being scratched. Update: 03/09 16:10 GMT by T : Note: That's nm, rather than mm; now fixed.
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Simple Method Yields A Wrinkly, Durable, Water-Repellent Coating

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  • by Eric Driggs ( 4491733 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @10:20PM (#51663473)
    eom
    • by RussellTheMuscle ( 2783037 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @10:25PM (#51663511)
      Although 10 mm might give some dent protection to your new, wrinkly, water-resistant car.
    • by fizzup ( 788545 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:12PM (#51663719)

      What's a factor of a million between friends?

      • I know, right?

        Why can't we all use universal measurements like the meter (1 ten millionth the distance through Paris from the pole to the equator), or the second (1/86400 of the mean solar day), or the kilogram (mass of a lump of metal in Paris, with no relevance to anything), the degree Kelvin ( 1/273.15 the temperature of the triple point of water)?

        If we ever meet aliens, they would be totally confused by the American, which use traditional folklore measurements!

        • by Zaelath ( 2588189 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @01:20AM (#51664131)

          Yeah, so if it takes 1 Calorie to raise 1cc of water 1K, and 1 Joule to raise 1cc of water 100m, how many Btus does it take to make an ounce of tea on Everest?

          You can pick if it's a US or imperial ounce, but of course you'll need to express that in your answer.

        • Why can't we all use universal measurements like the meter (1 ten millionth the distance through Paris from the pole to the equator)

          That's not the definition of a metre.

          or the second (1/86400 of the mean solar day)

          That's not the definition of a second.

          or the kilogram (mass of a lump of metal in Paris, with no relevance to anything)

          Okay, got me there... but they're working on it!

          • It went like this. A Meter (Metre in French, meaning step), was the distance stepped off by a french Legionnaire
            in the time of Napoleon. Then he told his scientists, "Make it have some relevance to Science" and they came
            up with this and that, eventually was the platinum bar at some temperature in the basement somewhere in
            Paris. Then the modern scientists came into vogue, and it was 134567368 x the wavelength of some light
            emited by an excited atom of some molecule.

            I kinda like the Imperial better. Heave

            • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

              Actually I think the best of the non-metric measurements is temperature. Sure, its true, the metric scale is better for many things. It is great for talking about boiling water, and freezing water, and relating them.

              However, its hard to talk about comfortable room temperatures in C without resorting to fractional numbers. The 0-100 range is just too wide for daily use.

              The F scale however is based around the normal sorts of human temperature ranges where 0 is around where we start talking about it being dang

              • However, its hard to talk about comfortable room temperatures in C without resorting to fractional numbers.

                No it isn't. There's only a conversion factor of 1.8 between C and F. How often do you have conversations that go "It's warm outside, feels about 90." / "Nah, feels more like 88 to me."?

                0 is around where we start talking about it being dangerously cold

                0 is around where it starts to snow instead of raining (very roughly) or where your water pipes might start freezing. That point seems a bit more practical and definite to me than a less well-defined "dangerously cold."

          • Re:Meeting aliens (Score:4, Informative)

            by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @08:55AM (#51665007)

            Why can't we all use universal measurements like the meter (1 ten millionth the distance through Paris from the pole to the equator)

            That's not the definition of a metre.

            Yes, that actually was the original definition.

            From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
            "the commission â" whose members included Lagrange, Laplace, Monge and Condorcet â" decided that the new measure should be equal to one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator (the quadrant of the Earth's circumference), measured along the meridian passing through Paris.

            The definition has been revised several times to base it on bars made of platinum, the wavelength of light and the speed of light, but that doesn't change the origin of the unit.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, the kilogram was (is?) the mass of an object, but you can approximate it quite readily - one litre of water has a mass of one kilogram - water is fairly readily available.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Was about to ask about this.

    • So basically they've created non-stick shrink-wrap.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do you write stupid shit on purpose to see if we're paying attention?

    • by baker_tony ( 621742 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @12:17AM (#51663971) Homepage

      I think it's more the Americans trying to work out this whole crazy newfangled metric system. Base 10 is just so friggin hard to grasp when you've accidentally shot off a bunch of your fingers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You're a fucking moron.

      • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

        I think it's more the Americans trying to work out this whole crazy newfangled metric system. Base 10 is just so friggin hard to grasp when you've accidentally shot off a bunch of your fingers.

        That's a funny statement for someone from a British colony! (You do know that your ancestors were the ones that pushed the imperial system onto the US, right?)

        As an American, I always figured that we kept those imperial units after the revolutionary war to remind ourselves what happens when the Brits are in charge!

  • I've always hoped someone would take the values of Shrinky-Dink seriously.
    • I've always hoped someone would take the values of Shrinky-Dink seriously.

      Scientists have been making discoveries with shrinky-dink for years now.

  • ...make water droplets dance and roll off of a surface show promise for applications such as self-cleaning cars, ...

    They almost had me.

  • It's not 10mm (Score:2, Informative)

    It's 10 nanometers. A 10mm thick layer of PTFE would be massive.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, that would be ... almost 1cm thick!

    • That caught my eye as well - had to check the paper. A 10 mm coating would be... unimpressive.

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but all the praise seems to be around the ability to repel water.

    What if something gets dirty from something airborne like exhaust fumes or atmospheric haze or something?

    Am I able to wash that off?

    If not, it's not self-cleaning, not even 'cleaning-neutral', but actively 'cleaning-resistant'.

    • by eam ( 192101 )

      If the material is hydrophobic, and the dirt is not, then it wouldn't be self-cleaning, but it would work much better than what we have now.

      Get some soapy water. Wash your car. Let it air dry. Do you see spots? That's the dirt that was mixed with the water droplets that were stuck to the surface of your car. If those droplets couldn't stick, they would have rolled off carrying the dirt with them.

      Imagine you're lazy and never wash your car. The first time it rains, anything water soluble dissolves in th

    • Good question. I wash all my teflon pans with a wet sponge - but stay away from scouring pads because they ruin the finish.

      But they did say it retains its hydrophobia even after scratches. The mirrors on my car are waxed to keep water off - but dirt sure does build up. So I can see in the rain but not on muddy/salty days (yeah - that's a thing up North).

      'course - this is just a proof-of-concept. It'll take "10 years" to bring it to market.

  • I've always wanted a car that looked like a shriveled up ball sack, but I thought the demographic must have been too small.
  • could have fooled me...

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