Super oil-repellent materials that are self-cleaning

Researchers have made materials that repel oil and are able to cleanthemselves without the help of soap and water. What's more, theresearchers describe exactly how the materials work, which could helpothers design similar materials. This could lead to a range ofapplications, including fingerprint-shedding cell-phone displays. Theresearchers, from MIT and the Air Force Research Laboratory at EdwardsAir Force Base, in CA, describe their results in the current issue of Science.

The MIT and Air Force Research Laboratory researchers overcame theobstacles to super oil-repellant materials by combining two advances.First, the Air Force researchers developed a material that's somethinglike a super Teflon. Fluorine chemical groups in Teflon help make itrepellant, says Gareth McKinley,a mechanical-engineering professor at MIT who is involved with thework. The Air Force researchers developed a molecule with a structurethat incorporates much more fluorine. Adding this molecule to amaterial makes it more repellant to liquids.

Source: technologyreview.comAdded: 17 December 2007

Tags: materials