It looks like the days of ruined jackets or dirty windshield because of rainfall has finally come to an end. Researchers from the University of Michigan developed a self-healing, water-repellent coating that can survive these situations.
Water-repelling coating we saw before are often way too fragile that they likely to face a lot of abuse in these situations- be it a ship in the ocean or the clothes on your back. However, the coating they’ve created is made of a combination of fluorinated polyurethane elastomer and a complex, extremely hydrophobic molecule named F-POSS and it comes with the ability to self-heal hundred times better than its predecessor despite unusual levels of abuse. It can revive from burns, direct strikes, chemical attacks, even the ultrasonic blasts.
The water-repellent coatings developed previously depend on a very specialized geometry, which impedes water droplets from dripping in. However, the geometry was often inflexible. A little damage could ruin that characteristic, leaving an object soaking wet. The new coating is quite flexible and can restore itself chemically. New molecules will naturally migrate to replace the water-repellent F-POSS molecules if they are scraped from the surface. You can fine-tune the composition as its healing ability is limited only by its thickness.
Scientists from the University of Michigan have a substantial plan to put this water-repellent coating into production. They’ve already formed a company named HygraTek, which intends to commercialize this tech. If successful, this tech has far-reaching potential uses. You could have waterproof clothes, cars; ships could be faster by minimizing their water resistance. As the researcher’s estimate, this coating will be available to consumers before the end of 2017.