It looks like conventional tape, but this adhesive developed at the School of Biomedical Engineering at Colorado State University repels liquid, making it potentially useful in weathering and other applications.
On one side, the tape is sticky like normal Scotch Tape, and about the same width. On the other, though, it’s a “superomniphobic” surface, which repels liquids using an air cushion that sits between the liquid and the solid surface of the tape. It was developed by doctoral student Hamed Vahabi, postdoctoral fellow Wei Wang, and Arun Kota, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering who has been working on super-repellent coatings for more than 10 years.
He and his students have also used hydrophobic coatings to make kitchenware that doesn’t let liquid stick to it.
The superomniphobic tape could be used to help materials resist corrosion, reduce drag, minimize liquid waste, or to self-clean. The design builds on techniques for creating hydrophobic materials that have been around since at least 2007. Etchings or sprays can perform the same function, but at a considerably higher cost and with a higher skills requirement than adhesive tape.
Kota has filed a patent for the tape, and hopes to commercialize it for tape and adhesive manufacturers or for the packing industry. However, the biggest challenge in working with hydrophobic adhesive has been in making sure that the tape itself is durable enough for the scenarios in which it might be used. The researchers are still working on making the tape mechanically durable, Kota said.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced