Some gas, an electric current
and you may never have to get wet again.
Researchers at the UK's University of Durham are developing
super repellent techniques, an area of plasma chemistry, that are
opening up a wide range of uses, from simple liquid proof textiles
through to new ways of screening genetic material for disease.
Originally developed for the Ministry of Defence, the technology
was designed to protect soldiers from weapons such as Mustard Gas
which is, in actuality, droplets of liquid. By controlling the
behaviour of a liquid, ensuring that individual droplets remain
spherical when coming into contact with a treated surface, rather
than soaking in and spreading, the process is able to direct a
liquid into precise, selected areas, even on a very small scale.
This can render textiles completely waterproof or provide
specialist coatings for microscope slides as well as a host of
The University of Durham's technology is particularly notable
for its sheer simplicity - effectively combining a gas and a source
of electricity within a sealed chamber. No solvents are used in the
process and the resultant coatings are capable of covering quite
complex shaped objects.
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Page contact: L HandfordLast revised: Thu 2 Nov 2006