Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Joanna Aizenberg, the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and professor of chemistry and chemical biology has found new ways to improve the windows that we are looking at in current times. The new type of coating technique has created a durable, scratch resistant, self cleaning and anti icing surface of glass. The new coating builds on an award-winning technology pioneered by Aizenberg and her team called Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) — the slipperiest synthetic surface known. This SLIPS technology was first inspired by the Nepenthes pitcher plant which allows insects within contact of the plant to be sucked in the plant. Researchers have found a way to coat this material on to glass without itself to slip away. They collect an amount of polystyrene spherical particles and lay it on glass. Then they pour liquid glass on them until the balls are half way full. Once it is in solid state, they burn the polystyrene which allows a honeycomb like structure to the surface. Once the honeycomb is finished they pour the material (SLIPS) on the surface. The coated glass repels a variaty of liquids such as like oil, honey and octane. Also, like SLIPS, the coating reduced the adhesion of ice to a glass slide by 99 percent. Keeping materials frost-free is important, since adhered ice can take down power lines, decrease the energy efficiency of cooling systems, delay airplanes, and lead buildings to collapse Importantly, the honeycomb structure of the SLIPS coating on the glass slides confers unmatched mechanical robustness. It withstood damage and remained slippery after treatments that often scratched and compromised ordinary glass surfaces and other popular liquid-repellent materials, such as touching, peeling off a piece of tape, and wiping with a tissue.