An Unsinkable Metal?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
An "unsinkable" metal floats on top of water, thanks to being superhydrophobic
An “unsinkable” metal floats on top of water, thanks to being superhydrophobic
University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster

Superhydrophobic materials, which are excellent at repelling water, can be extremely useful for a whole range of reasons, both obvious and not-so-obvious. They can prevent ice from building up on surfaces, make electronics waterproof, make ships more efficient or keep people from peeing in public. Now engineers have found a quirky new use for superhydrophobic materials – making “unsinkable” metals that stay floating even when punctured.

uperhydrophobic materials get their water-repelling properties by trapping air in complex surfaces. These air bubbles make it hard for water to stick, so droplets instead bounce or roll right off. But, of course, air also makes things buoyant, so the team set out to test how superhydrophobic materials could be used to make objects that float better.

An untreated structure (left) sinks to the bottom, while one etched to make it superhydrophobic floats to the top (right)

An untreated structure (left) sinks to the bottom, while one etched to make it superhydrophobic floats to the top (right)

University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster

The researchers used ultra-fast laser pulses to etch microscale and nanoscale patterns onto the surfaces. That traps large volumes of air, making the metals both superhydrophobic and buoyant. But the problem was that these complex surfaces would eventually wear away due to friction in the water, reducing the effectiveness of both of those properties.

Read more

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *