Children wearing clothes made with the process could make as much mess as they like, yet remain clean and dry. The treatment creates an invisible non-stick surface coating that repels water, grease and dirt.
As well as being useful for clothing, it has hundreds of other applications, from aircraft parts and ship hulls to banknotes and wallpaper.
Jas Pal Badyal, director of the research programme at Durham's department of chemistry, said: "This process has many advantages over existing methods. It works at room temperature with a low amount of energy. It uses no solvents, produces negligible waste, and is friendly to the environment. The process is fast and the effects are long-lasting." The key to the treatment is a plasma process which involves filling a chamber with gas and passing an electric current through it. This deposits a thin coating, invisible to the naked eye. The finish is super-repellent, far superior to conventional non-stick surfaces.
Laboratory tests show that drops of water and oil remain spherical when they come into contact with the coating and roll away instead of spreading out or soaking in.Reuse content