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Engineer Creates 'Everything-Repellent' Coating To Kid-Proof Items

ANN ARBOR (CBS Local) - An engineer in Michigan may have just answered the prayers of many parents who have messy children at home. Researchers at the University of Michigan have reportedly created a new coating that's being called an "everything-repellent."

The Details:

  • University of Michigan scientists develop "omniphobic" coating that can repel nearly every liquid
  • Inspired by co-author's dream to create material that would make cleaning up after his child easier
  • Coating prevents grime buildup on surfaces like tables, floors, walls, even phone screens
  • 'Everything Repellant' could be game-changer for daycares, homes with young kids
  • Next phase of study is to ensure material isn't toxic

Anish Tuteja, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, says his team has developed an "omniphobic" substance, which can repel nearly every known liquid. The clear and durable coating was inspired by the scientist's dream to create a material that could make cleaning up after his child a much easier chore.

Omniphobic Coating Tests by University of Michigan Engineering on YouTube

"I have a 2-year-old at home, so for me, this particular project was about more than just the science," Tuteja said in a university paper. "We're excited about what this could do to make homes and daycares cleaner places, and we're looking at a variety of possible applications in industry as well."

According to the team's findings, published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the omniphobic coating can be applied to any surface and would prevent grime from building up on tables, floors, walls, and even phone screens.

The new coating mixes two substances, a bonding agent called fluorinated polyurethane and a molecule known as F-POSS. "The repellent and binder mix together well enough to make a clear coating, but there's a very small amount of phase separation between them," researcher Mathew Boban explained in a press release. Boban added that the F-POSS will "float to the surface" of the mixture and forms the kid-proof layer.

Tuteja says his team is now studying their new coating to make sure it's not toxic. Items like yoga mats, which contain polyurethane foam, have previously been linked to infertility due to exposure to the flame retardant chemical.

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