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August 22, 2018

Viscous lubricants on plastic slide with superomniphobic coating (Image 1)

Viscous lubricants are poured onto a flexible plastic slide with a superomniphobic coating. The lubricants slide easily off the slide, opening up applications like self-cleaning windows, ink jet printers and microfluidic devices. [Image 1 of 2 related images. See Image 2.]

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Materials researchers at the University of Michigan have made an advance that could grime-proof phone screens, countertops, camera lenses and countless other everyday items. The researchers demonstrated a smooth, durable, clear coating that swiftly sheds water, oils and alcohols, as well as peanut butter.

The new "omniphobic" coating repels almost every known liquid and is the latest in a series of breakthrough coatings from the lab of Anish Tuteja, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

Earlier efforts by the lab produced durable coatings that repelled ice and water, and a more fragile omniphobic coating, but the new omniphobic coating is the first that’s durable and clear and is easily applied to virtually any surface.

Tuteja envisions the new coating as a way to prevent surfaces from getting grimy, both in the home and in industry. It could work on computer displays, tables, floors and walls, for example.

This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

Read more about this research in the University of Michigan news story 'Everything-repellent' coating could kid-proof phones, homes. (Date image taken: March 2018; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Aug. 22, 2018)

Credit: Photo by Robert Coelius

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