Chemical engineers have devised a simple way to create better polymer-based coatings for products ranging from surgical implants to ship hulls.
The researchers have already used the method to make water-resistant coatings that last much longer than ones prepared by more conventional means.
Materials designers often rely on chemistry to modify a surface. Using a conventional method, researchers choose a material—such as a light, flexible polymer—and then add small, chainlike molecules that line up on its surface. Each of these molecules has one end that sticks t