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ORNL creates super waterproofing technology

5:58 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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Car windshields, boats, and clothing are just some of the items that could benefit from new technology created here in East Tennessee.

Called "super hydrophobic" technology or "S.H.", scientist John Simpson said the material, in both liquid and powder form, can repel water from any surface.

"This is material science," Dr. Simpson said. "When I saw this, when we first created bouncing water drops, I dropped everything else I've ever studied or done in my life. I said 'this could change everything.'"

The decades-long project was created at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It is created by certain types of sand that creates a barrier between an object's surface and water.

"'Super' means it's really really good, 'Hydro' is a term for water, and 'Phobic' means you're scared of it," Dr. Simpson explained.

He says S.H. when liquified, can be coated on roadways to prevent ponding and save pavement, boats to prevent barnacle, jackets for waterproofing, and windshields to increase viability.

"Rain-X on your car will make water bead up to a certain extent, but it won't go off your car until the car is going at least 30 mph," Dr. Simpson said.

S.H. is now patented and could be shipped to half a dozen companies in the coming months.

"It could change almost anything," he said.

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