Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed clear omniphobic coating that can be painted or sprayed onto a surface to make it repel a wide range of materials
The novel coating can repel everything from water and oil to alcohol by simply slide off the material from surface. A paper describing the work, titled “Smooth, All-Solid, Low-Hysteresis, Omniphobic Surfaces with Enhanced Mechanical Durability,” was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
“We have developed a smooth omniphobic coating which is easily applied to a broad range of materials,” said Mathew Boban, a materials science and engineering graduate researcher on the project. “The key challenge was to tune the amount of separation between a liquid-repellent molecule and a binder that sticks it to a surface, so that a very dense and smooth layer of these molecules is formed. Because the coating is smooth and entirely solid, it is more transparent, durable, and stable than many other liquid repellent surfaces, including those using rough textures to entrap tiny air pockets, liquid lubricants, or single layers of repellent molecules.”
Furthermore, apart from application in smartphones and other mobile devices, this special coating can be applied to other surfaces such as windows, which can stay clean for longer. Other applications might include use in refrigeration, power generation, and oil refining, as these industries depend on the condensation of liquids and this coating could increase their efficiency by letting them remove condensed water and chemicals more quickly. Also, it could help in improving microfluidic devices used for biomedical research and diagnostics. Researchers believe that this development could help in optimizing the cost, safety, and performance to scale up production. The study aims to develop a range of omniphobic coatings using different combinations of binders and liquid-repellent molecules having different chemistry.