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Apr 17, 2018

How to make a self-cleaning coating that repels all liquid

A self-cleaning coating could protect the screen of a pricey iPhone.

What’s the best way to keep our screens clean? The first, and obvious answer, is to keep our hands themselves free of grime. But there may be another option: self-cleaning coatings created by materials scientists.

Recently, Anish Tuteja, a materials researcher at the University of Michigan, developed a clear, smooth coating that repels all liquids and can be applied to any surface. (The research was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.) There are other repellent coatings, of course, but their abilities are limited. Take, for instance, a Teflon pan. “If you put a drop of water on it, it beads up, but if you put cooking oil, it’ll spread,” says Tuteja. “That’s what happens on most surfaces.” The material his team...

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