Domestic Cleaners Chiswick 1st September 2018

Cleaning has always been a hands-on job, and even with the mechanical optimisations offered by today's society, it is still an endeavour that demands effort and time (which we provide!)

However, that may be starting to change, as a team led by UCL researchers along with universities in London and China have developed a paint that creates resilient self-cleaning surfaces by applying a hydrophobic coating to it.

The coating can be applied to all sorts of materials, such as clothing, paper, glass and steel, and is combined with adhesives in order to make it stick to the surface and maintain its properties even after being wiped, scratched with a knife and scuffed with sandpaper.

Not to be confused with being water-resilient, hydrophobic materials are on another level of water resistance. They are waterproof enough for water to form marble-shaped droplets when applied to the surface, that rolls over it and picks up dirt, viruses and bacteria along the way (hence the self-cleaning label). Researchers say that it has a wide range of real-world applications, from being used for clothing, to cars and the like.

"For this to happen, the surface must be rough and waxy, so we set out to create these conditions on hard and soft surfaces by designing our own paint and combining it with different adhesives to help the surfaces withstand damage.”, they said - hydrophobic coatings have been around for some time, however they lacked the ability to be applied to real life due to the fact that they were swept away easily; sometimes just blowing on them could force them off the material. It seems that the adhesive helps a great amount in that regard.

The study, involving researchers from UCL, Imperial College London and the Dallan University of Technology in China shows how the new paint made up by coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles can give a wide range of self cleaning properties, even during and after immersion in oil and following damage to the surface.

First author Yao Lu from UCL Chemistry added that “Our paint worked extremely well for a variety of surfaces in tough conditions which were designed to simulate the wear and tear of materials in the real-world. For example, car paint frequently gets scuffed and scratched and we wanted to make sure our paint would survive that. As well as practical uses, the paint could also be used creatively to make art with water which is something I have been exploring in my own time.”

What do you think? Will this become the premier cleaning option for many things in the future, or will it end up flopping completely due to issues regarding convenience or other aspects? Regardless of whether you think that this new idea is reliable or not, something that will always be reliable are the hands and feet of our own cleaners!

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