Super-Hydrophobic Spray Makes All Your Stuff Liquid-Proof

Super-Hydrophobic Spray Makes All Your Stuff Liquid-Proof
It should start showing up on store shelves in a few weeks.

Chocolate Syrup on NeverWet-Coated Shoes
Chocolate Syrup on NeverWet-Coated Shoes on YouTube

It's definitely weird to watch the NeverWet chemists pump chocolate syrup onto a pair of white canvas shoes and to see the syrup roll off in ribbons. Or how about when the researchers dunk an iPhone into a beaker of water and then pull out the phone and use it?

NeverWet is a set of two ultra-hydrophobic sprays, including a base coat and top coat, that you can use to treat paper, fabric, metal and other materials. When local news site Lancaster Online first posted a video about NeverWet—invented by chemists based near Lancaster, Pennsylvania—the video garnered almost 1.4 million views. Now, two years later, it'll finally be available commercially. NeverWet will sell for $19.97 at Home Depot, Lancaster Online reports in an updated story.

Rust-Oleum, a manufacturing company that's licensed to sell NeverWet, has a video describing how to use it. Rust-Oleum advertises the spray for building materials and shoes:


Meanwhile, NeverWet's Lancaster creators are less conservative about their invention. In video interviews with Lancaster Online, they sprayed a cardboard box to turn it into a makeshift cooler and even demonstrated how to waterproof an iPhone. We haven't tried it here, so we can't say for sure if it's a good idea to spray NeverWet onto your phone, nor does it seem Rust-Oleum officially endorses protecting electronics with the product.

We also can't say if you'll be able to pick it up immediately when it comes out. Rust-Oleum wouldn't tell Lancaster Online how much NeverWet will be made and which Home Depots will carry it. It will start appearing on store shelves in a few weeks, the news site reported. The spray set does seem to be for sale on Home Depot's website. (Thanks, ComputerDan!)


Liquid Drops on a NeverWet Surface
Liquid Drops on a NeverWet Surface:  NeverWet


NeverWet scientists first stumbled upon the stuff while trying to make a coating to protect steel from corrosion. They ended up with a spray that forms a very high angle of contact for any water that touches it, Lancaster Online explained. A material with a contact angle of zero will make a drop of water lie flat. Human skin has a contact angle of 75 to 90 degrees. Car wax has a contact angle of 95 degrees. NeverWet creates a contact angle of 165 degrees. If the contact angle were 180 degrees, any water touching it would form a perfect sphere.

June 20: I updated this post with some more information from Rust-Oleum. I also added that you can find NeverWet on the Home Depot website.

by NeverWet
Posted 06/19/2013 in news