Forget Regular, Boring Paper… Meet Water-Repellent Nanopaper
Scientists have just proved something that you might think is impossible…
Through a unique nano-engineering process, the Georgia Tech team has changed the chemical properties of paper.
Specifically, they’ve given it the ability to repel liquid more efficiently and at a lower cost than existing methods.
Yet it still looks and feels just like regular paper.
Professor Dennis Hess of Georgia Tech’s Chemical and Biomedical Engineering team says water-repellent paper boasts obvious benefits – from protecting packaging material from rainwater, to new-age medical devices.
So how did they create this nanopaper?
Well, as the name suggests, they could only achieve it by working on the nanoscale.
That is, working on a scale of 1-100 nanometers. To give you an idea of how incredibly small this is, one nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
The team has to roughen the paper’s surface – a multi-step process that removes the absorbent, cellulose outer layer.
After that, Hess explains, “We deposit a fluorocarbon film that’s about 100 nanometers thick on to the surface, and we have our super-hydrophobic surface.”
Up to now, the team has only managed to produce small quantities of this water-repellent nanopaper. But he’s confident that the process can be scaled up and industrialized to bring a truly new-age, high-tech upgrade to an ancient product.