Indian researchers unveil water-resistant film to boost life of energy systems – India Today

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Researchers at Shiv Nadar University have unveiled flexible and durable films that could help in harnessing clean energy and its conservation.

The superhydrophobic film designed by them promises to enhance the efficiency and longevity of various engineering systems, including solar panels, flexible electronics, and optical equipment.

The key challenge addressed by the scientists is the performance limitations imposed by atmospheric contamination, such as pollutants, salt-laden aerosols, and rain, which often lead to substantial functionality loss in these systems.


The team’s research focused on creating films that repel water and other liquids, protecting devices from environmental damage. Through a simple and eco-friendly biofuel-based flame treatment, the researchers successfully crafted superhydrophobic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films.

The treatment resulted in the formation of coral-like wrinkled morphologies with in-situ synthesised functionalised nano-silica particles.

This unique feature results in extreme dewetting and low adhesion characteristics. (Photo: Getty)

What sets these films apart is their exceptional water-repelling capabilities, boasting a water contact angle greater than 160 degrees, ensuring remarkable dewetting characteristics.

The films also exhibited low hysteresis (less than 5 degrees) and sliding angles (less than 5 degrees), making them highly effective in resisting liquids, including blood. Hysteresis refers to the lag or delay in the response of a system to changes in the forces or parameters influencing that system. In the context of superhydrophobic films, low hysteresis is desirable.

The film’s adhesion with water is incredibly low, surpassing that of the famed Lotus leaf.

In a paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, researchers said that the secret to these films’ exceptional performance lies in the Coral-like structures formed from agglomerated nano-silica particles, providing a negative capillary pressure.

This unique feature results in extreme dewetting and low adhesion characteristics, making the films resilient in harsh physical and chemical environments.

Impressively, the developed films demonstrated outstanding resistance, enduring more than 20,000 droplet impacts and over a year of weathering without severe damage.

This breakthrough opens the door for the creation of non-wettable, self-cleaning structures, even those with intricate shapes.

Published By:

Sibu Kumar Tripathi

Published On:

Feb 6, 2024

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