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)
szyhnc, we know the automotive OEMs have thin margins. But there's a huge aftermarket for all kinds of add-ons, including cameras, additional sideview mirrors, etc. that this coating might be applied to, and that people spend a surprising (to me) amount of money in. The only tests I saw mentioned were touching the surface, applying and then peeling off a piece of tape, and wiping the surface with a tissue. Since these took place in a university research lab, apparently there's been no wind tunnel or waterfall tests yet.
Ann, Don't look for funding from the auto industry soon. Thire margins (except for low volumn exotics) are too thin. A more luctrative source might be aviation when bugs and dirt can have real safety implications. Will this surface stand up to high velocity air and water flows?
That's a good point, Ann, on getting to see the follow-through on the technology. Alot of things we report on don't ever make it into commercial use. Good on you as well for following up and reporting on what happens when the technology leaves the lab.
I agree that carnivorous plants are fascinating, but don't know much about them beyond the Venus flytrap. I've never actually observed them up close but think they would be quite wild to see. When I was young and first learned about them I actually was afraid they could eat me! But then again, I was a nervous child. ;)
I can think of a practical application. Have you watched the Indy 500 with the onboard cameras running? The glass cover on the camera has to rotate when it gets dirty so as to expose a fresh clean area. This substance could make lens cleaning unnecessary. I see that there is increased interest in backup cameras being installed on automobiles. This stuff could make it easy to keep road dirt off the camera lens.
Glad you liked this one, Nadine. We don't always get to find out what happens to some of these inventions after the initial reports and sometimes nothing happens and they don't get any further towards commercialization. My first introduction to a carnivorous plant was science class, also a Venus Flytrap. Smelly! Mostly because of the dead insects decomposing.
It's nice to see the progress being made here. I can't wait to see real world application.
As a kid, we had a Venus Flytrap plant. Carnivorous plants are really interesting to watch. Other kids may have torched ants with magnifying glasses; I caught flies to feed to our plant! Great inspiration.
I agree, the creativity shown in this one meets part of my definition of innovation. What I also liked about it is the fact that the researchers have continued to pursue this line of inquiry and now have a third-generation or so implementation of the original material concept. The next-gen version after this one will most likely be a commercialized form.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies.
You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived.
So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.