Scientists make water ‘bounce’ on laser-etched metal

Physicists have created metal surfaces that repel water to the extent that droplets bounce away.

They sculpted the surface of small pieces of metal, using fast bursts from a very high-powered laser.

The materials "self-clean" because water droplets gather dust particles before they slide away.

If it can be scaled up, the technique could help produce hygienic, easily-maintained devices - from solar panels to toilets - that do not rust or ice up.

Published in the Journal of Applied Physics, the work showed that a water droplet dropped from 2cm would bounce back higher than 5mm, maintaining 30% of its energy.

Video courtesy of Matthew Mann / University of Rochester

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