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.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...