Want!

Nanotech clothing fabric ‘never gets wet’ – tech – 24 November 2008 – New Scientist

The secret to this incredible water resistance is the layer of silicone nanofilaments, which are highly chemically hydrophobic. The spiky structure of the 40-nanometre-wide filaments strengthens that effect, to create a coating that prevents water droplets from soaking through the coating to the polyester fibres underneath.
[…]

This fine layer of air ensures that water never comes into contact with the polyester fabric. It can be submerged in water for two months and still remain dry to the touch, says Seeger.

In addition, the plastron layer can also reduce drag when moving from water by up to 20% according to preliminary experiments conducted by Seeger. “This could be very interesting for athletic swimwear applications,” he suggests, raising the possibility of future swimsuits that never get wet.

The new coating is produced in a one-step process, in which silicone in gas form condenses onto the fibres to form nanofilaments. The coating can also be added to other textiles, including wool, viscose and cotton, although polyester currently gives the best results.
Durable invention

Experiments also showed that the new coating is durable. Unlike some water-resistant coatings, it remains more-or-less intact when the fabric is rubbed vigorously, although it didn’t survive an everyday washing machine cycle.

Perhaps that’s a different definition of “durable” than the one I’m used to, but it’s still pretty darn cool. (also, of course, why would you need to wash it?)

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