How would you like a self-washing car or a ketchup bottle whose contents flow freely?
Researchers at General Electric have come up with a way to process a common polymer so that it repels fluid so effectively that even honey rolls right off it. The resulting property is called superhydrophobicity. While the property has long been achieved in expensive materials, GE’s feat was to make it available in a common polycarbonate, Lexan.
The discovery could allow everything from new, easy-to-clean building materials to cheap diagnostic devices with plastic microfluidic channels. In designing the material, GE took inspiration from the leaves of the lotus plant, whose surface cells are five to ten micro-meters wide and topped by tiny wax crystals that are tens of nanometers wide. On a lotus leaf, water beads look like almost perfect spheres.
GE mimicked this pattern on Lexan by “roughening” its surface in a similar way. Tao Deng, a materials scientist at GE, is tight lipped about the process but says it uses a “chemical treatment of the surface.” GE estimates it will take at least five years to commercialize the technology, once all manufacturing issues are resolved.
Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks
One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.
Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?
Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.
How to befriend a crow
I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.
Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not
Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.
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