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Oak Ridge Creates Super-Water Repellant

The crushed glass-based nano-coating holds microscopic air pockets, allowing water and grime to bounce off coated surfaces.

Scientists have created a new inexpensive, super-water repellant coating that has the potential to make water and dirt slide off car windshields and bodies.

Developed by John Simpson, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, the super-hydrophobic coating benefits from progress made in nanotechnology and is made from crushed glass.

“What I developed is a glass powder-coating material with remarkable properties that causes water-based solutions to bounce off virtually any coated surface,” he says.

The nano-structured material maintains a microscopic layer of air on surfaces, even when submerged in water, a quality Simpson refers to as the “Moses effect.”

Existing super-hydrophobic coatings are expensive and are poor water repellants, he says, making them impractical for most commercial uses.

The new coating starts with crushed, phase-separated glass, which initially has hydrophilic, or water bonding, properties. The glass then is transformed into a hydrophobic material, creating a water-repelling powder.

The final product is “unwettable,” Simpson says, adding only a small amount is needed to cover a relatively large surface area.

TAGS: Technology
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