Spray-On ‘NeverWet’ Coating Could Waterproof Gadgets
Imagine being able to take your camera/phone/e-reader to the beach, or use it out in the rain, and never worry about getting it wet. Imagine further that you could do this with your existing gadgets, just by spraying them with a magic waterproof coating.
That’s the promise of NeverWet, a “superhydrophobic” coating that will repel just about anything. Water rolls off NeverWet-coated surfaces like glass beads on a windowpane. Syrups and other sticky, viscous fluids slide off like water. Here’s a video of the stuff in action:
The sales pitch is that objects coated in NeverWet can “never get wet.” The claims seem to be truthful: a small panel was left in a bucket of seawater at the NeverWet offices for a year. One side was coated in NeverWet. When the panel was removed, this side came out dry, and still water repellent.
Apart from the obvious waterproofing applications, NeverWet could also be used an antibacterial coating, an icing repellent and a corrosion protection. Imagine painting a bike in this stuff and never having to clean it again.
Like any superhero, NeverWet has its Kryptonite, in this case alcohol and soap. Both of these will cause NeverWet to get wet, but a quick rinse with water will restore its magical properties. Given that my number one use-case for a waterproof coating is to protect my gadgets from spilled wine, beer and cocktails, this might turn into an important limitation.
NeverWet is still undergoing research, but could be available commercially next year. I’m looking forward to NeverWet clothing. I’ll never have to undress again.