Robust self-cleaning surfaces that function when exposed to either air or oil

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Science  06 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6226, pp. 1132-1135
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0946

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A robust paintlike repellent coating

Superhydrophobic materials often depend on a particular surface patterning or an applied coating. However, these surfaces can be damaged by wear or fouled by oily materials. Lu et al. devised a suspension of coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles that can be spray-painted or dipcoated onto a range of hard and soft surfaces, including paper, cloth, and glass. The coatings resisted rubbing, scratching, and surface contamination.

Science, this issue p. 1132


Superhydrophobic self-cleaning surfaces are based on the surface micro/nanomorphologies; however, such surfaces are mechanically weak and stop functioning when exposed to oil. We have created an ethanolic suspension of perfluorosilane-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles that forms a paint that can be sprayed, dipped, or extruded onto both hard and soft materials to create a self-cleaning surface that functions even upon emersion in oil. Commercial adhesives were used to bond the paint to various substrates and promote robustness. These surfaces maintained their water repellency after finger-wipe, knife-scratch, and even 40 abrasion cycles with sandpaper. The formulations developed can be used on clothes, paper, glass, and steel for a myriad of self-cleaning applications.

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