Oh, boy… do I need something like this?!
Barely a day goes by when I don’t slop some food on my clothes (yeah, I know… not what you’d expect from an Englishman).
But for food fumblers everywhere, help is on the way.
Silicon Valley startup, Silic, is harnessing the power of nanotechnology to save clothes – and embarrassment – from unsightly food stains.
Scientists at the firm have developed what they call hydrophobic material that can be woven directly into clothing at the nano scale. In other words, a ridiculously microscopic level.
To give you an idea, consider than one nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
As the term suggests, hydrophobic material repels water.
As Silic CEO, Aamir Patel, explains, “On the nano-scale, when we bind it to the fiber, it’s physically repelling hydrogen atoms. So anything that’s water-based isn’t going to be able to touch it. What happens is that it creates very high surface tension, and with that surface tension, the water molecules bead up and turn into spheres. In that form they can roll off the shirt very easily.”
From Cement Production to Stain Prevention
Patel says that with current waterproofing using unsafe materials, his team has reinvented the hydrophobic process using new techniques.
Specifically, their process uses silica – a well-known drying agent and a natural mineral that’s used in cement production.
“The first time I [tried the prototype], I spilled an entire jug of water all over my shirt and it came off dry. I was mind-blown. And as I show it to more people, it’s a repeating process of people saying, ‘wow.’ So I think it’s a technology that’s going to become very versatile.”
So versatile, in fact, that Patel sees many other uses for the technology, other than just weaving it into the shirts that his company is making. Garments like trousers, socks, and even shoes.
So far, though, Silic has raised $300,000 through crowdfunding efforts to manufacture the shirts, which will start shipping soon.
Not bad for a guy who’s just 21 years old.
And must-have material for those who still need a bib to eat their meals!