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A team of researchers at the University of Central Florida have created a new nanomaterial that repels water and can stay dry even when submerged underwater.

The discovery could open the door to the development of more efficient -repellent surfaces, fuel cells and electronic sensors to detect toxins. The work is documented in the cover story of this month's Advanced Materials journal.

Debashis Chanda, a professor at UCF's NanoScience Technology Center, led the team that created these novel superhydrophobic films and coating from nanomaterials. He was inspired by nature and evolution of certain plants and biological species

"Being water repellent or hydrophobicity is nature's tool to protect and self-clean plants and animals against pathogens like fungi, algae growth and dirt accumulation," Chanda says. "We took our cues from the structure of a lotus leaf and synthesized nanostructured materials based on molecular crystals of fullerenes."

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