A nanoscale coating repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface, according to the University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed it. In addition to stain-resistant clothes, the coating could lead to breathable garments to protect soldiers and scientists from chemicals, and advanced waterproof paints that dramatically reduce drag on ships.
To apply the coating, the researchers employ a technique called electrospinning that uses an electric charge to create fine particles of solid from a liquid solution. So far, they've coated small tiles of screen and postage-stamp-sized swaths of fabric.
The coating is a mixture of rubbery plastic particles of "polydimethylsiloxane," or PDMS, and liquid-resisting nanoscale cubes developed by the Air Force that contain carbon, fluorine, silicon, and oxygen.
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