Brigham Researchers Create “Super-hydrophobic Surface” That Makes Water Droplets Bounce like A Ball (VIDEO)


Brigham Young University researchers have created a super-hydrophobic surface that causes water droplets to bounce like a ball and roll down the surface.

"To create a super-hydrophobic surface, it can't be done with a coating like Teflon or wax, you have to actually put a structure on it," said Julie Crockett, mechanical engineering Professor. "In nature, lotus leaves do this really well, so what we do in the lab is similar to what we observe on the lotus leaf - we have these structures, and we have water sitting on top of them," Designntrend reports.

Existing waterproofing methods involve spraying surfaces with a special coating. But, the layer eventually wears off, increasing the risk of water damage. The nouvelle technique devised by the Utah researchers attempts to make objects like gadgets and shoes permanently waterproof. The technique involves adding tiny structures to the surfaces to make the material resistant to liquid.

The researchers claim that this technique could one day be used to protect boats and planes.

Crocket added that super-hydrophobic surfaces can be created in multiple ways. Here, the team used micro posts and surfaces with ribs and cavities.

When the water droplets fall on to the super-hydrophobic surface, they expand like typical droplets. But, the structures make the liquid come together and roll down the surface.

Crockett said that the technology causes water molecules to get more attracted to each other, rather than the super-hydrophobic surface. As a result, the droplets unite immediately after falling before rolling down the surface.

Researchers said that the surface can be applied to solar panels, showers, tubs and toilets to prevent the formation of water marks. Besides the everyday items, the waterproof surface can be used in bio-medical devices like interiors of tubes or syringes, hulls of ships, exterior of torpedoes or submarines and airplane wings among others.

They also claim that super-hydrophobic surface could be used to generate efficient energy.

"Nearly every power plant across the country creates energy by burning coal or natural gas to create steam that expands and rotates a turbine. Once that has happened, the steam needs to be condensed back into a liquid state to be cycled back through," researchers said in a press release.

"If power plant condensers can be built with optimal super-hydrophobic surfaces, which process can be sped up in significant ways, saving time and lowering costs to generate power. If you have these surfaces, the fluid isn't attracted to the condenser wall, and as soon as the steam starts condensing to a liquid, it just rolls right off. And so you can very, very quickly and efficiently condense a lot of gas," Crockett said.

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