A research team in Finland, led by Robin Ras, from Aalto University, and aided by researchers from the University of Jyvaskyla, has developed a mechanism to make water droplets slip off surfaces with unprecedented efficacy. Cooking, transportation, optics and hundreds of other technologies are affected by how water sticks to surfaces or slides off them, and adoption of water-resistant surfaces in the future could improve many household and industrial technologies, such as plumbing, shipping and the auto industry. The research team created solid silicon surfaces with a “liquid-like” outer layer that repels water by making droplets slide off surfaces. The highly mobile topcoat acts as a lubricant between the product and the water droplets.
Sakari Lepikko, the lead author of the study, which was published in Nature Chemistry on Monday, said: “Our work is the first time that anyone has gone directly to the nanometer-level to create molecularly heterogeneous surfaces.” By carefully adjusting conditions, such as temperature and water content, inside a reactor, the team could fine-tune how much of the silicon surface the monolayer covered. Using the new method, the team ended up creating the slipperiest liquid surface in the world. According to Lepikko, the discovery promises to have implications wherever droplet-repellent surfaces are needed. This covers hundreds of examples from daily life to industrial environments.
Originally Posted at https://slashdot.org/