Blueprint to repel oil and water | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

Blueprint to repel oil and water

The texture of surfaces could be designed so that both water and oil can bead up and thus flow off

By
3:53pm, November 10, 2008

A new set of design criteria could enable engineers to invent and manufacture surfaces that can repel almost all liquids, even oily fluids long noted for their ability to foul water-repellent surfaces.

Many surfaces — including, say, a duck’s back — repel water. But no known natural surfaces repel oil, says Gareth McKinley, a chemical engineer at MIT. Indeed, dip a duck in oil-tainted waters and its feathers lose their water-repellency, a phenomenon all too often seen in the wake of marine oil spills.

Even though nature hasn’t come up with

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content