Nature has always been a huge inspiration for some of the world’s greatest inventions. Now Nature has lent another helping hand in inspiring the creation of a new protective coating at Harvard University.
Taking a Tip from Mother Nature
Many plant leaves are naturally capable of repelling liquids. Commonly known examples are rose petals, lotus leaves, and rice leaves. One plant that caught the attention of Harvard scientists is the tropical plant Nepenthes. Commonly known as the pitcher plant, Nepenthes is a carnivorous plant usually found in countries like Malaysia and Australia. What makes this plant different amongst others is that it has a unique ability to create a near frictionless surface. It is also has immense self healing capabilities.
The Need & the Solution
There has been a need to create a protective coating that prevents the formation of bacteria, corrosion, and natural substances like ice on vital industrial instruments. The scientists at Harvard were able to create a transparent coating that emulates the frictionless surface of the pitcher plant.
The coating comprises a thin, rough layer of porous silica particles, which are used to create a protective lubricating layer on the component surface. It can be easily applied to any type of component regardless of size or shape. It is capable of operating in high temperatures and pressures. The biggest advantage is the fact that the Harvard scientists have been able to mimic the self healing capabilities of the pitcher plant. The coating is able to provide complete protection against various incidents such as scraping or scratches.
As one can realize, the results of such a coating will be phenomenal. The coating can be used on a variety of metal surfaces such as jet turbine blades, semi conductors, pistons of various sizes, and automobile bodies. Needless to say, this new coating solution will certainly create a great impact in the coating industry.
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