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Scientists create self-cleaning paint9th of April 2015
Researchers in London have developed a paint that is claimed to be able to clean itself.
The coating can be applied to various substances including clothes, paper, glass and steel. When combined with adhesives it is said to maintain its self-cleaning properties even after being wiped, scratched with a knife or scuffed with sandpaper.
Self-cleaning surfaces work because they are extremely repellent to water. However, they often stop working when they are damaged or exposed to oil. The new super-hydrophobic paint is said to be highly resilient and impervious to both water and oils.
"Being waterproof allows materials to self-clean," says study author Yao Lu "Water forms marble-shaped droplets that roll over the surface, acting like miniature vacuum cleaners picking up dirt, viruses and bacteria along the way.
"For this to happen the surface must be rough and waxy, so we set out to create these conditions on hard and soft surfaces by designing our own paint and combining it with different adhesives to help the surfaces withstand damage."
The fact that the paint is resistant to everyday wear and tear means it could be used for a wide range of applications from clothing to cars, say the researchers who were drawn from University College London, Imperial College London and Dalian University of Technology in China.
"Our paint worked extremely well for a variety of surfaces in tough conditions that were designed to simulate the wear and tear of materials in the real-world," said Lu. "For example, car paint frequently gets scuffed and scratched and we wanted to make sure our paint would survive that."