Researchers at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan have developed a new low-temperature process that allows even heat-sensitive materials to be coated with a transparent super water-repellent film. The Osaka Prefecture University group, led by Materials Scientist Tsutomu Minami, had previously developed a method of forming a transparent highly water-repellent film. That process deposits a thin film of alumina, mixed with an organic resin, on a substrate and then bakes the object at 400C. The heat burns off the organic molecules, producing a regular surface roughness with features on the scale of tens of nanometers—enough to get the desired shape effect yet with sufficient consistency to minimize loss of transparency due to light dispersion. The alumina is then coated with a film of hydrolyzed fluoroalkyltrimethoxysilane (FAS), a water-repellent. Unfortunately, the high temperatures required make this method only suitable for such temperature-resistant materials as glass and ceramics. The new method relies on a chemical reaction rather than high temperature. The object is first coated with an alumina gel film chemically modified with acetoacetic acid. When immersed in a water bath at 60C, the chemicals react, forming tiny crystals which are washed off to create the minutely rough surface. The surface is then coated with FAS as in the heat-treatment process. Since it is a low-temperature process, the researchers believe it could be used for ski goggles and motorcycle helmet visors, where highly water-repellent yet transparent coatings are needed for plastic substrates. For additional details, contact Tsutomu Minami, Dept. of Applied Materials Science, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka Prefecture University, Japan. Tel: +81 722 54 9329; Fax: +81 722 54 9913; or e-mail email@example.com.
The DDV-IP is a two-wheeled self-balancing robot that can deliver cold beverages to thirsty folks on hot summer days. A wireless RF remote enables manual control of the device beyond the act of self-balancing. All of the features of the DDV-IP result in an effective delivery vehicle while providing entertainment to the user.
Eric Doster of iFixit talks about the most surprising aspect of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 teardown. In a presentation at Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, iFixit gave the Surface Pro 3 a score of one (out of a possible 10) for repairability.
Barnacles and mussels stay attached to ship hulls and rocks because of a very sticky protein glue they secrete, holding on for a long time even underwater. Researchers at MIT took mussel glue as inspiration -- and as an ingredient -- for engineering their own sticky waterproof adhesive.
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.