SINGAPORE CITY, Singapore – Linda Yongling Wu and her team of researchers at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing developed a way to process the solid material silica, in a way to make it waterproof and self-cleaning.
The team of scientists based their research on the lotus leaf, which has such a surface that the water drops are capable of slipping over it and cleaning it at the same time. The scientists were able to develop such a pattern for the silica that coats the surface of the material with similar capabilities. According to their research, by using a laser to carve out a micro-structured template that they then use to pattern a sol-gel coating, the hard material becomes completely water-resistant. For this effect, the scientists calculated that 83% of the surface state needs to be involved in air trapping, with only 17% of the liquid drop surface actually in contact with the silica itself.
This is not the first technology breakthrough regarding water resistance of materials used for production of mobile devices, as there were several attempts aimed at similar results. Major phone vendor Nokia is working on waterproof phones from some time, while scientists all over the world are experimenting on waterproof coatings such as Liquipel and Daikin’s water-resistant coating.