Barnacles face smooth enemy: Unstickiest coating yet offers protection for yachts and carpets
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Thursday 03 March 1994
Scientists have made a material that is even better at repelling unwanted liquids and stains than Teflon, the substance used to coat frying pans and spaceships.
The inventor of the new non-stick material said it could be used to protect the paintwork of cars or homes. 'It would make cleaning cars easy because insects don't stick to it,' Donald Schmidt, a senior scientist at the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan, said.
Coating wallpaper is another possible use for the non-stick material, which is colourless and can be applied like a paint. 'Children can write on it with a magic marker and you can wipe it clean with tissues,' Dr Schmidt said.
The complex chemistry employed to make the material is described in the journal Nature, published today. Robert Brady, a research chemist at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, says in an accompanying article that the search for a true non-stick surface may be 'the chemical equivalent of the perpetual motion machine: earnestly desired, but unattainable'.
The improvements in non-stickiness of the new substance, however, put this goal potentially in reach, he told the Independent. 'Teflon's great stuff but you can't soften it so can't put it where you want it to be.' This substance is water-based and unlike Teflon, which is baked on to steel, can be applied at relatively low temperatures to a wide variety of surfaces.
Potential applications range from anti-ice paints for aircraft to anti-stain coatings for lavatories. Dr Brady said it could become the ideal non-stick and non-toxic paint to stop barnacles living on the hulls of yachts. 'We've been trying to do that for 18 years but the barnacles are smarter than we are.'
Another use is as an invisible sealant for upholstery and furniture. 'That wine stain on the carpet could be a thing of the past,' Dr Brady said.
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'This is what Islam tells us to do': A rare glimpse inside a Saudi Arabian prison – where Isis terrorists are showered with perks and privileges
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£30000 - £33000 per annum + bonus and pension: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Content Administrator is required ...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...