Research

Laser-Made Superhydrophobics

Droplets bouncing off surface

Superhydrophobic surfaces are so repellent to water that liquids often cannot wet them. Today these surfaces are usually created with chemical coatings or deliberate manufacturing to create micro- and nanoscale structures that trap air between the drop and the surface in order to prevent adhesion. Researchers recently announced they’ve made metals superhydrophobic with laser treatments. The process is still time-consuming, but they hope it can be scaled up for wider applications. Because drops bounce so readily off the treated surfaces, it takes very little water to clean them, which may be especially useful for sanitation purposes in the developing world. Superhydrophobic materials are also good for preventing icing on aircraft wings. To learn more about the research, check out the University of Rochester’s video explanations. (Image credit: C. Guo et al., source videos 1,2; submitted by entropy-perturbation and  buckitdrop)

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