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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Coating heals itself after damage

27 July 2012 

"Hydrophobic" surfaces repel water and grime
but can be limited by short lifetimes

Scientists have taken a new approach to creating coatings that heal themselves when they are damaged.

The research could potentially have applications in scratch-resistant phones and "self-cleaning" cars.

"Functional" coatings that, for example, repel water and dirt have previously been dogged by relatively short lifetimes.

But the journal Advanced Materials reports that researchers have worked out how to increase their longevity.

A major stumblingblock when applying these layers is that the smallest scratch can remove them, eradicating their special properties. It damages the nano-sized molecular groups that repel water and dirt, for example.

But this problem could be overcome by making a coating with self-healing properties. Such self-healing materials mimic living organisms that can repair their tissues.

Now, Prof Bert de With of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and his colleagues have discovered a nano-structure solution to the problem. (...)

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