Researchers working with nanotech have created what may be a super-waterproof material that causes the liquid to slide right off the surface with very little friction. Further, additional research into these materials has also shown that they are just as equally water resistant when the liquid-like molecules are present at low concentrations as they are at high ones, too.
This new research is especially helpful because previously, it was believed that low concentrations of the molecules would cause more friction between the water and the silicone surface, thus causing water to stick to it. However, the new paper, which is featured in Nature Chemistry, showcases this isn’t the case at all (via Newsweek).
Instead of finding more friction, the researchers discovered that water flows freely off the material even when the concentration is low. In fact, it flows off the surface, allowing it to act as a super-waterproof material just as effectively at both high and low concentrations. This means we could increase droplet mobility almost anywhere it is needed, the researchers note.
One big reason that this discovery is so pivotal is due to how fragile other super-waterproof materials can be. For most of them, the coatings must be very thin, which means they disperse quickly after physical contact. However, this new discovery could make those materials even more durable.
This could allow for things like heat transfer in pipes, de-icing, and anti-fogging, as well as self-cleaning surfaces to utilize the super-waterproof material. It’s a big discovery with a ton of potential applications, and being able to test and make the waterproof material even more exceptional in the future.
Perhaps we could even see this kind of material eventually included in clothing, making things like rain boots, raincoats, and other types of clothing offer up even more waterproof properties a few years down the line.