Researchers at TU/e -Technische Universiteit in Eindhoven (Nederland) – have for the first time developed a coating with a surface that repairs itself after damage. This new coating has numerous potential applications – for example mobile phones that will remain clean from fingerprints, cars that never need to be washed, and aircraft that need less frequent repainting. The results were published in the 17 July edition of the journal Advanced Materials.
Functional coatings, for example with highly water-resistant or antibacterial properties, have at their surface nano-sized molecular groups that provide these specific properties. But up to now, these molecular groups are easily and irreversibly damaged by minor contact with their surface (such as by scratching), quickly causing their properties to be lost. This has been a big limitation to the possible applications of these coatings. Researcher Catarina Esteves of the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e and her colleagues have now found a solution to this problem.