The latest news in the world of lasers has to be the creation of superhydrophobic materials using laser etching. The team at the University of Rochester has managed to etch the surface of a metal using a laser with a pattern that makes the surface extremely hydrophobic.
This intrinsic design ensures that any water which comes in contact with the metal surface rolls off. This material is much more efficient at repelling water than Teflon coated materials. Hopefully, laser etching services will be employed in the future to make use of this concept in commercial applications.
Hydrophobia in Nature
This effect of repelling water can be seen in nature as well. Lotus leaves for example feature an intricate design that keeps water off of its leaves, thus preventing it from decomposing at a quick pace.
Metals Made Superhydrophobic with Laser Etching Services: Possible Applications
Once this concept is made more scalable, the possibilities of applications are immense. Several applications ranging from industrial to personal use require protection from water. Be it keeping corrosion at bay or making the environment more hygienic, superhydrophobic materials can only help in increasing application efficiency. For instance, Professor Chunlei Guo, who along with his colleague made this breakthrough, envisions use of these materials for maintenance-free solar panels and toilets.
A similar effect of repelling water is possible using the process of chemical etching, however it is not as long-lasting or effective as laser etching. Some external materials have also been developed that can be applied to the surface of an application, making it hydrophobic. These materials are not as effective or durable as laser etching. Laser etching truly makes a material hydrophobic in a more reliable manner than any other method developed so far.