New surfaces repel most known liquids
January 18, 2013
Scientists have developed new “superomniphobic” surfaces that will lead to stain-proof, spill-proof clothing, protective garments, and other products that shrug off virtually every liquid — from blood and ketchup to concentrated acids.
Anish Tuteja and colleagues point out that scientists have previously reported “omniphobic” surfaces, the term meaning that such surfaces can cause a range of different liquids to bead up and not spread on them. But typically very low surface tension liquids such as some oils and alcohols can adhere to those surfaces.
Scientists have also mostly focused on making surfaces that repel only one of the two families of liquids — Newtonian liquids (most liquids) named for the English scientist who described how they flow.
Tuteja’s team set out to do the same for non-Newtonian liquids, which include blood, yogurt, gravy, non-drip paint, various polymer solutions, concentrated acids and bases, and a range of other liquids. They say that virtually all liquids easily roll off and bounce on the new surfaces, which makes them ideal for protecting materials from the effects of chemicals.
Applications include stain-free clothing; spill-resistant, breathable protective wear; surfaces that shrug off microbes like bacteria; and corrosion-resistant coatings.