A recent discovery funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) may very well lead to a process that not only benefits every uniformed service member of the Department of Defense, but everyone else as well: protection from Chemical/Biological agents, to self-cleaning apparel, to effortless thermal management, to fuel purification as well as enhanced control of leaksespecially oil and fuels.
In 2006, AFOSR Program Manager Dr. Charles Lee funded Professor Gareth McKinley at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology exploring nanocomposite technology for Defense applications. Anish Tuteja, an MIT doctoral student at the time, was exploiting the unusual surface properties of a nanocomposite with fluorinated nanoparticles, to create a superoleophobic surface. After graduation, Tuteja moved to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he is currently an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, specializing in chemical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering. He was awarded a Young Investigator Program grant from AFOSR in 2011, and continued to conduct the same line of research begun at MIT. His team also included doctoral student Shuaijun Pan and postdoctoral researcher Arun Kota, as well as collaboration with Dr. Joseph Mabry, from the Rocket Propulsion Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory, at Edwards AFB, California.
In their latest paper, "Superomniphobic Surfaces for Effective Chemical Shielding," in the current issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Tuteja and his team have demonstrated surfaces that effectively perform as "chemical shields against virtually all liquids."
To make this possible, surfaces are prepared using a nanoscale coating that is approximately 95 percent air, which in turn, repels liquids of any material in its class, causing them to literally bounce off the treated surface. The surfaces "possess hierarchical scales of re-ent
|Contact: Robert White|
Air Force Office of Scientific Research