• Jun 29, 2007
Engineers looked at a lotus leaf easily shedding water and said, "Hey, we could do that." And so they did, with a revolutionary coating named superhydrophobic, which simply means it really dislikes water.
The technology works by creating a surface with lots of peaks and valleys. These create microscopic air bubbles that shed liquid. In a video (download from the site to watch) on a GE engineer's blog, you can see honey running right off a treated surface.

What does this mean for you, the loyal Autoblog reader? Lots, actually. Think about a car coated with this stuff. Water runs right off, taking with it any dirt that has accumulated. A quick spray of the hose and she's sparkling like new. Other automotive uses include coating low-friction parts, self-cleaning windshields, etc.

GE says its coating would be expected to last about 10 years, at which time it would need to be replaced or repaired. One airline official looking to use it as an ice-deterrent on planes said the durability wouldn't be a problem for the aviation industry. Even if the coating were chipped or damaged in places, it would make ice removal much easier. But in an automotive application, easily-chipped paint is rarely tolerated these days. GE realizes this and is said to be working on the problem.

[Source: AP via San Jose Mercury News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Superhydrophobic? That's the name they came up with?
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's still silly.
        • 7 Years Ago
        you're silly - you superhydrophobic-phobic
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some new Oakley glasses have a hydrophobic coating. I'm not sure if it is made the same way as this one, but I don't think it's "rough".

      Not real sure if I'd want this on a car. No more cleaning up small scratches or swirl marks, and repairs just got a lot more expensive.

      I'm also curious how this is applied. Most body shops machine buff a freshly painted panel. Seems like this coating would require a flawless application.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Even a "flawless" paintjob is still quite rough under an electron microscope, so I think that the "roughness" that they describe is on such a minute scale that it's even less "rough" than traditional paint/clearcoat, it's just more of a specific, unified "roughness".

        Remember those close up pictures of bugs splattered on windshields that made it onto Autoblog a couple months ago?

        http://www.autoblog.com/2007/03/03/the-carnage-on-your-windshield/

        The glass in those pictures was more rough looking than many people would assume glass to be on that small of a level, but yet automotive glass still feels very smooth to the touch.

        I think you're still right about the application process though, it's probably very complex, and out of the realm of the body shop, for now anyways.
      • 7 Years Ago
      and thus begun the end of girls on hoods....
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm thinking "Hydroshed"
      or
      The New WaterWik or LiqWiq (Liquid wicking)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Everybody sing along...

      Supercalifragilisticexpeehydrophobic

      There, now it's stuck in your head too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        God... DAMN YOUUUUUU!
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Phobos" is Greek for fear, though, not hate.
      So this stuff is really afraid of water, and so repels it. Nice.

      Hang on, I'm getting a call on my new iPhone...
      • 7 Years Ago
      And, will dirt and bugs and tree sap get caught in those peaks and valleys.
        • 7 Years Ago
        aye, there's the rub
      • 7 Years Ago
      Heres the question though; it says it creates peaks and valleys, does that mean it will be rough to the touch?
        • 7 Years Ago
        and thus begun the end of girls on hoods....
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