Harvard University researchers say they have modified cotton and polyester fabrics with a coating that repels almost any type of substance. Inspired by the carnivorous Pitcher plant, which uses a mixture of fluids and a mechanical trap to ensnare insects, SLIPS Technologies, also based in Cambridge, Mass., developed its Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces, which launched in 2011.
The textiles have been further developed to retain their protective properties after rubbing, twisting or washing. The repellency process was developed at the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the university’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
According to the company website, SLIPS transforms a solid surface into a microscopically thin, smooth and friction-free immobilized “sea” of lubricant through a combination of nanoscale surface textures, surface chemistry and a liquid lubricant that can then be “woven” and immobilized on almost any kind of surface.