Researchers at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new coating for steel that keeps water and other contaminants out and makes the metal stronger. Based on the SLIPS technology created by the team in 2011, this new coating for steel is made from rough nanoporous tungsten oxide. The new “slippery steel” shows promise for a broad range of applications.
News Drill Down
- According to an October 20th release on Harvard’s SEAS website, the new coating “is the most durable anti-fouling and anti-corrosive material to date, capable of repelling any kind of liquid even after sustaining intense structural abuse.” Applications for the coating include medical tools and devices, 3D printing nozzles, buildings and marine vessels.
- An article by the Harvard researchers published on Nature Communications discusses the anti-fouling coatings that have traditionally been used for marine applications, saying, “most successful coatings incorporate environmentally toxic biocides that impact non-target species.” The article outlines in detail the research on the TO-SLIPS technology, including findings that “the omniphobic-slippery TO films almost completely repel algae fouling without showing any sign of morphology degradation or environmental toxicity.”
- The Engineer reports that “the coating is applied using an electrochemical technique that deposits an ultra thin film of tungsten oxide islands onto the steel.”
- “The addition of the tungsten oxide made the steel structurally stronger than uncoated samples” during testing, explains an article from Gizmag. Usually, anti-fouling coatings make steel weaker.
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John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University: Super-slick material makes steel better, stronger, cleaner
Nature Communications: Extremely durable biofouling-resistant metallic surfaces based on electrodeposited nanoporous tungstite films on steel
The Engineer: ‘Slippery’ steel provides both durability and anti-fouling
Gizmag: Slick coating keeps steel clean and tough
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