Researchers have created metal structures with a hydrophobic surface that repel water so well that they don’t sink even after repeated dives or punctures..
To do this, scientists, using femtesecond laser pulses, etched complex micro- and nanostructures on the surface of two aluminum plates, which hold air and prevent getting wet. Then we connected them with the treated sides inward to prevent external wear and abrasion of the water-repellent «relief».
The plates are spaced apart to trap enough air to keep the structure buoyant, effectively creating a waterproof air pocket.
According to a team of researchers from the University of Rochester, even after being immersed in water for 2 months, metal structures quickly floated to the surface after removing the load from them. The plates also retained their properties after many punctures and damage, as they continued to trap air between the remaining sectors..
However, the team found that after being immersed in water for extended periods of time, hydrophobic surfaces gradually begin to lose their hydrophobic properties..
Scientists say that with the help of such structures it is possible to create unsinkable ships or electronic control devices that can swim in the ocean for a long time..
We also previously reported on the development of a foam metal that stops 50 caliber bullets as well as steel sheet of the same thickness, but weighs half as much..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University of Rochester