New research, published this year, made superhydrophobic surfaces that were strongly resistant to damage. The result, which was published on the front cover of the journal Nature, was a major breakthrough; until now, extremely water-repellent surfaces have been too delicate to be used widely. The team behind the original breakthrough has now received funding for their follow-up project called ARMOR, which aims to get the materials out of the laboratory, and into commercial products.
“The key to the original work was applying a microstructured pattern to the surface before coating it with the water-repelling compounds” explains Professor Robin Ras, the lead researcher on the project. “With ARMOR, we are now looking into what surfaces we can apply this patterning to for real-world uses.”