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Move Over, iPhone 7: This New Spray-On Material Could Revolutionize Water Proofing

Sep 10, 2016 09:00 AM EDT

While everyone is buzzed up on Apple's big waterproof amd dust-resistant iPhone 7 reveal, a team of scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) has created a new spray-on protective coating that's cheap and UV resistant, revolutionizing water-proofing in everyday objects.

According to the study entitled "Ultra-Durable and Transparent Self-Cleaning Surfaces by Large-Scale Self-Assembly of Hierarchical Interpenetrated Polymer Networks" published in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces, the ultra-durable and transparent self-cleaning material is made of a layer of nanoparticles, where "water slides off as if it's on a hot barbecue," according to William Wong from the ANU's Nanotechnology Research Laboratory.

The said waterproof material is unlike any available in the market as it is more robust because it's a combination of two different materials: one tough and one flexible. Also, apart from being water-resistant, the superhydrophobic coating can also protect any object from ultraviolet radiation.

Another thing that sets this material apart is its cheap and easy method of creating it, which trumps current manufacturing practices. The team developed two ways of creating the waterproof coating: one by using heat or flames to produce nanoparticles while the other by dissolving the material's components into a sprayable material.

"The key innovation is that this transparent coating is able to stabilise very fragile nanomaterials resulting in ultra-durable nanotextures with numerous real-world applications," said lead researchers Antonio Tricoli via Science Daily.

Tricoli notes that this new material's use is very flexible and could be applied to a multitude of things -- from mobile phones to skyscraper windows.

"A lot of the functional coatings today are very weak, but we will be able to apply the same principles to make robust coatings that are, for example, anti-corrosive, self-cleaning or oil-repellent," he added.

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