Blueprint to repel oil and water | Science News



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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

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

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