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Surfaces that defy liquids described

Jan. 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say new "superomniphobic" surfaces could lead to stain-proof, spill-proof clothing and other products that shrug off virtually every liquid.

Writing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers report advances in creating surfaces that display extreme repellency to two families of liquids -- Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids.

Newtonian fluids are free-flowing liquids like water, while non-Newtonian liquids -- such as yogurt, gravy and various polymer solutions -- are thicker and flow more slowly.

Anish Tuteja of the University of Michigan and colleagues say new surfaces are being developed that resist liquids, including concentrated acids and bases, oils and alcohols with extremely low surface tension, solvents and various polymer solutions.

"Omniphobic" surfaces are defined as surfaces that can cause a range of different liquids to bead up and roll off them without spreading, the researchers said.

Virtually all liquids easily roll off the new surfaces, which could have applications in stain-free clothing, spill-resistant breathable protective wear, surfaces that shrug off microbes like bacteria and corrosion-resistant coatings, they said.

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