Waterproof Material

Posted by on dic 13, 2013 in Sustainability Mission | 0 comments

Waterproof Material

The wintry, windy weather will leave you longing for the waterproof warmth of Gore-Tex. But researchers from MIT and Boston University are willing to bet they can give you one better — a material able to ward off the elements, whether rain, sleet or hail. They’ll argue, it’s “the most waterproof material ever.”

The team has developed a new “super-hydrophobic,” or water-shedding, surface that reduces the contact time it takes for droplets to bounce away from a surface by 40 percent.

MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor Kripa Varanasi told MIT News the time a drop stays in contact with a surface “is important because it controls the exchange of mass, momentum and energy between the drop and the surface.”

The longer a droplet stays in contact with a surface, the higher the possibility it could freeze in place. And if drops could bounce even faster, the advantages would soar — literally. Aircraft engines could stop icing over, and you could be warmer traveling as a result, if the technology was commercialized and integrated into clothing.

Varanasi worked alongside Boston University Professor James Bird, former MIT postdoc Rajeev Dhiman and recent MIT PhD recipient Hyukmin Kwon, to develop the material they mimicked after butterfly wings.

They added ridges capable of breaking a droplet’s symmetry, similar to the design found on butterflies. Water spreads out over the flittering critters’ wings and curtails their aerodynamic properties, which MIT describes as “a clear survival advantage.”

Moving forward, the team wants to reduce bouncing-off speeds by 70 to 80 percent, as well as expand the material’s use cases. Varanasi tells MIT News that it could make turbine blades in electric power plants more efficient by repelling water and keeping blades dryer longer.

“The new technique could also reduce corrosion on surfaces where droplets, especially if they are acidic or contain contaminants, contribute to degradation,” according to MIT.

Source: BostInno

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