No more stains with an ‘everything repellent’ coating

Every parent with small children knows how many things leave stains, and how much work it is to clean it up. Researchers from the University of Michigan developed a new super hydrophobic clear coating that repels everything, from jelly to fingerprints, and can be used on everything from walls to your phone screen.

The coating consists of 2 materials: fluorinated polyurythane (a polymer) and a molecule called fluorodecyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (F-POSS). The latter is a synthetic molecule with an extremely low surface energy, which means that it is a surface that doesn’t easily adhere to coatings.

The polyurethane acts as a binder that keeps the F-POSS together and sticks it to the surface. The F-POSS repels oil, water, and other liquids. The repellent and binder mix well enough to make a clear coating, but there is a small amount of phase separation between them, which allows the F-POSS to sort of float to the surface and create a repellent layer.

The material will be cost-effective because polyurythane is cheap, and the cost of F-POSS will likely come down as manufactuers develop mass production methods for the molecule.

The coating can be used to create childproof surfaces, but also refrigeration, oil refining, and power generation.

Photo: University of Michigan