Super-Slippery Coating Inspired by Carnivorous Plant
An ultraslippery coating that repels oil and water even on vertical surfaces is created with a glass honeycomb-like structure with craters (left). This is coated with a Teflon-like chemical (purple) that binds to the honeycomb cells to form a stable liquid film. The film repels droplets of both water and oily liquids (right). Because it's a liquid, it flows, which helps the coating repair itself when damaged. (Source: Nicolas Vogel, Wyss Institute)
I like to read articles where we as humans take God's technology and try to improve or use it in a new way. There are so many cool things that are out in nature right now and to advance or use them in a new way is very exciting.
I woudl think the auto or possibly trucking industry would be inerested if it reduces drag and increases mpg. The trucking idustry will go nuts for a lb or two reduction in vehicle weight because of the potential cost savings.
VERY interesting post Ann. Several years ago I had a consulting job involved with mounting solar collectors used in a small "solar farm". It involved the base structures and motorized mechanisms to move the collectors across the horizon as the sun traveled east to west. On HUGE factor we somewhat overlooked was keeping the collector plates clean. It's amazing how much efficiency is lost due to dirty glazers. The material you describe in your post would be very effective keeping clean surfaces. I'm going to send your post to the gentleman I worked with just to keep him informed as to what might be one possible solution to the problem.
At this point, the primary difference I see in the product descriptions is the Rustoleum product doesn't claim complete transparency; several reviews comment on the "milky sheen" it imparts to the coated surface.
Ratsky, this material isn't even commercialized yet so it's definitely not being sold at Home Depot. There have been several similar R&D announcements in the last year or so of such slippery surface/coating technology. I'd guess the Home Depot stuff is the result of one of those.
Is this the same stuff that Home Depot has been advertising recently, from Rustoleum? Too many similarities to be a coincidence. This ad just started running a few days ago. HD website has many reviews, largely mixed.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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