Nokia is working on a superhydrophobic coating for their phones inspired by the nano-technology found in lotus leaves.
Chris Bower, the Principal Scientist at the NRC in Cambridge, explains:
â€œLike many scientists we are trying to copy what nature has been doing perfectly for thousands of years.â€
â€œA hydrophobic coating â€“ like Teflon â€“ has a low surface energy and a high contact angle of 120 deg, which makes water form discrete droplets on the surface.â€
He goes on to explain that Superhydrophobic coatings have a contact angle that can approach 180 degrees â€“ and the liquid forms discrete drops that literally bounce off the surface:
â€œThe difference is the nano-structured coating, trapping air at the interface, that makes sure the liquid never actually touches the surface.â€
The Team at the NRC in Cambridge have set up a demonstration of a Nokia Lumia 710 which has been treated with a Superhydrophobic coating made in their labs.
The difference between Nokiaâ€™s coatings and others on the market is that Nokiaâ€™s version is meant for the outside of phones, where they have to be resistant to wear and tear.
â€œThe biggest challenge is making nanostructures robust enough to withstand every day wear and tear. You could put a superhydrophobic coating inside a device now because people canâ€™t degrade it, it canâ€™t get knocked around in your pocket. To put it on the outside is much, much tougher. But you want it on the outside because thatâ€™s where you see the effects of keeping your phone really clean.â€
The team at the Nokia NRC in Cambridge are â€œpretty closeâ€, he says, to perfecting a robust exterior Superhydrophobic coating.
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