A new technology has resulted in the creation of hydrophobic coatings that are ecologically friendly and tougher than anything witnessed before.
Recent environmental protection laws have seen a gradual phase-out of many chemicals used in producing water-proofing material. Now, a study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials by a team of MIT researchers has revealed the introduction of a new safer non-toxic coating that is even more effective than its banned conventional competitors.
“Most fabrics that say ‘water-repellent’ are actually water-resistant,” said MIT professor of mechanical engineering and study co-author Kripa Varanasi in a statement. “If you’re standing out in the rain, eventually water will get through.” Ultimately, “the goal is to be repellent — to have the drops just bounce back.”
Traditionally, water repellency has been achieved by coating surface textures with substances consisting of perfluorinated side‐chains polymers. These long polymers have been identified by the EPA as having many health and environmental hazards as well as accumulating in both the planet and human body tissue.
“They’re everywhere, and they don’t degrade easily,” Varanasi explained.