Hydrophobic, dirt-shedding spray is indistinguishable from magic

"Ultra Ever Dry" is a nanomaterial spray-coating that is (apparently) insanely hydrophobic, shedding dirt, water and oil. The jaw-dropping product video suggests many possibilities, from extreme hydroplaning sports to odd molecular gastronomy possibilities (though it's not rated food-safe, so caveat sprayer). If you're impatient, just zip the video to 2:00 or so and marvel.

What is it? The company says it's a "coating" that will repel almost any liquid by creating a barrier of air on the surface. They don't say what's in the coating. Whatever it is, the How to Apply This Product video suggests you don goggles, gloves and protective gear when you spray. They claim it will protect in temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, but durability is a question. In the video, they say abrasion might affect performance (which makes me wonder how long a pair of sprayed boots would stay dry if you were on a wet, slippery, rocky hiking trail). It's expensive. The base coat is $57.95 and the top coat is $100.95 a quart. On the other hand, if you dare to spray it on your car windows, you wouldn't need window wipers. Or would the windows get too cloudy? If you sprayed it on a car surface, would it affect the gloss? Probably.

Next Time Your Mom Says Don't Go Out in The Rain, Spray Yourself With This [Robert Krulwich/NPR]

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


    1. As a marine biologist who puts tons of crap everywhere underwater, I had the exact same thought.  Maybe I can make my permanent transect markers, you know, permanent!

    1. The question is, HOW MUCH cancer does it cause? I’d be ok with a little bit of cancer if it stopped my hairdo from getting messed up in the rain.

    1. Tip – use this stuff to tag surfaces, then as the surface gets naturally dirty over time, your “negative graffiti” becomes more and more visible.

      1.  It is available in custom colours but apparently minimums apply.

        Maybe buy translucent white base, then you only need top coat in colours. Would also assure that the area around tag gets fugly as hell while your tag remains pristine. Lasts for years in outdoor applications according to maker

        But, you would probably need to be rich to acquire a decent palette even in top coat alone

    2. Out here we’ve got graffiti resistant plastic windows on the streetcars.  So, no, we don’t get graffiti painted all over them.  Instead we get graffiti carved out of them.

    1. Wouldn’t that up the probability of hydroplaning to like 100%? No, what you need to do is put this on the bottom of a sled. FUN WILL BE HAD!

      Edit: Now I see what you mean, good idea!

      1. Um.  If you are up to the body of your car in water, you’re not really hydroplaning.  You’re car-boating, and are kinda screwed either way.  I think Hugh Johnson just wants to keep salty slush from clinging to his car when it gets splashed up there.  

      2. No, what you need to do is put this on the bottom of a sled.

        And ending our broadcast on a sad note, little Billy Miller died today when his snow saucer hit the Watson’s barn at 400 miles per hour.

    1.  that was my first thought:
      “Oh the Crunch enhancer?
      Yeah it’s a non-nutritive cereal varnish. It’s semi-permiable. It’s not osmotic. What it does is it coats and seals the flake, prevents the milk from penetrating it.”

    1. The first response of taggers to “oh, I can’t write on this…” is always “oh, I can scratch this!”

  1. It does look cool – there are a variety of super-hydrophobic coatings out there, but the real question isn’t how well it works today, but how it will respond to UV, physical abrasion, oxidation, etc. Those are the properties that would really determine how useful it is in the real world.

    And don’t make too much of the “spray with goggles and mask” – that is standard procedure for spraying essentially all coatings (aerosolized anything is bad for your lungs – vegetable oil, furniture polish, deck stain, automotive paint, latex paint, etc.).

  2. dayum, dependent upon its durability specifically abrasion resistance that is a fine product at a fine price. They dont mention UV, it needs to be somewhat UV resistant to be all that good for marine applications, plus water and refined oils don’t mean much if it cant do brine

    but still, so many application outside that…

  3. You do know that the dry cleaning lobby is going to quash this, right?

    But seriously, there’s a zillion uses for this. Its effin’ amazing. What about boat hulls coated with it, would water drag be reduced? Eliminate the need to take your car to the car wash. Anti-graffiti?  Public transit seating? Restaurant tables? Computer monitors and touch screens?

    1. My guess is that since there are two separate coatings they become hydrophobic when the top coat combines with the base coat.

      1. I’d actually guess the bottom coat is a specialized adhesive that bonds selectively to the top coat material. I’d assume the top coat lacks a binder material at all, so that whatever nanotrickery they’ve got going on is directly exposed.

  4. “The other breakthrough associated with Ultra-Ever Dry is the superior coating adherence and abrasion resistance allowing it to be used in all kinds of applications where durability is required. Ideal for use on metals, plastics, wood and fabric. Must be used with top coat (sold separately) in equal parts on the initial application for coating to work properly. Quart can covers 42 square feet.”

    From seller?manufacturer? website. Still, need an MDS

  5. I’m so lazy… I’m just thinking…. shower walls. This could mean I never have to wash the shower walls.

      1. The interesting thing I notice is that it only seems to repel water. It seemed like he was able to get a decent grip on those muddy twigs, so it might actually not be that slippery to stand on… after all, without any water on the surface, it’d be bone dry and soap free.

  6. My concern with this is that people are definitely going to use this on marine equipment.

    Without knowing exactly what’s in it, how well it holds up to the weather and saltwater, and what happens to it once it disappears into the ocean,we could be setting ourselves up for some ecological disaster that our kids will look at with 20/20 hindsight and wonder WTF we were thinking.

    1. Right. Like plastic. Wonder product – never breaks down. Ever. Every single plastic thing you’ve ever seen is still out there. Every straw, every toy, every lid to your coffee hasn’t broken down into anything but smaller bits of plastic. Now that plastic is starting to show up in fish and the animals that eat them.

      So I’m a little leery of this product – perhaps because it works too well.

      1.  for the longest time nothing ever broke down nylon…until something evolved the ability to break down nylon. lot’s of plastic in the environment just means some species die but new plastic eating species can thrive…of course whether we still have a place in that world is another story.

    2. Good question,

      main ingredients according to website of top coat  96-98% Acetone 2-4% Silica (fumed silica) and <1% proprietary

      fumed silica is used in a shit ton of stuff we put on bodies already, acetones are common

      the proprietary is ?? but I guess complete guess is that it is what makes the binding work well -edit, I guess wrongly, the proprietary additives provide abrasive resistance to cured product

      base coat is copy paste
      Ingredient % by Wt C.A.S. No.
      Xylene 66 106-42-3
      Naptha 12 64742-89-8
      Hexane 6 110-54-3
      Methylethylketone 2 78-93-3
      Toluene 5 108-88-3
      Proprietary Polymer 9 –
      Proprietary Additive <1 –

      Which according to the sheet has no carcinogens listed by many groups like EU, OSHA, NTP etc

      2 proprietary ingredients dunno

      Overall there are worse things already in heavy heavy use IMO, particularly vinyls, in marine applications

  7. I just like the idea of it on my eyeglasses.  I hate contacts but like to be outside, even in a moderate downpour.

    1. It says “translucent white” for colour so I dunno. And you would need a superior spray application to avoid inadvertently changing your prescription if it can be seen through

      edit- yep, transparent cannot be had as yet.

      1. Dang.  I’ll just drown my sorrows in this transparent aluminum beer can that hasn’t been invented yet.

      2. Yeah, looking at the part with the green liquid on the sheet of glass, that glass isn’t very reflective anymore.

  8. This stuff is insane. Imagine how much less cleaning we’d have to do if all our windows and cars were coated with this stuff.

    I’d love to see what happens if you put it on the hull of a boat.

    I wonder if this would last on the soles of my hiking boots? No more accumulating massive clods of soil on your feet when walking over muddy fields.
    And presumably this kind of thing is going to eat GoreTex for breakfast.

    1. Put it on Gore-Tex and it will be more water resistant than previously but you lose all te properties that make Gore-Tex worth having. Benefit of Gore-Tex is venting moisture though the almost one-way membrane via your own heat. So if you treat your goretex socks you get sweatbags

  9. Sailboat racers will be all over this.  The cleanliness of your boat bottom is often the difference between first and fifteenth.

    I wonder if it would let us boaters stop using all that awful ‘biocidal’ paint on our boats?

    1. You know Larry and the Oracle boys are on this.. Remember the AC33 tri and the “soap dispenser”?

        1.  but it may be hard as hell to fill it up (as the water will keep moving as you pour it in and likely come back out…physics eh?…you’d have to do it slowly to keep the inertia of the liquid down)

          1. So in this case I guess it would depend on the shape of the glass. It would have to be designed like a dog’s bowl and direct the splashes back in to the glass.

          2. yeah or pour from within the glass (remember the water can only come back up as far as it went down)
            one shaped in such a way that the water went back into the bowl would look awesome, because the only thing that would slow it down would be air resistance so it would be spinning around in circles for a while. put it in a vacuum and it may never stop (before you think “perpetual motion machine” something can move forever but if you try to extract work from it you remove energy from the system and slow it down. if it is just moving forever there is no real problem)

            oops forgot that there is still friction with this material it’s just greatly reduced. but were you pouring a superfluid it would be a whole other story

    1. I assume that the stuff, unable to dispel the water, would itself leap from the glass in panic.

  10. Hmm, how much would it cost to spray my roof or to treat the shingles with this. Or to create a better shingle.

    Just thought of something else: I’d never have to shovel snow or pick ice off my stairs and walkway again. (Subject to abrasive wear).

    1. It might be a bit slippery especially when walking from a wet surface. This assumes you dont want the stuff on the bottom of your shoes (or tires).

  11. I wonder what crooks could do with this. Imagine if it repelled the oils in fingerprints. So long, evidentiary bloodstains !

  12. When I was at Costco last weekend they were selling a toilet plunger coated with something similar. They even had a demo station set up with a magic and non-magic plunger. It was insane how the water came off the magic one.

  13. Why has nobody but me imagined the ridiculous sensual/sexual possibilities of body parts and other toys covered with this stuff? Actually, please don’t answer that.

    1.  fleshlights would require less cleaning…but they couldn’t hold lube and as such would probably burn. the lack of holding lube makes dildos less effective (though i suppose lube on the body would work, the dildo would be repelled from the lube and slide nicely…though the friction is kinda important)
      putting it on a condom means you would slide into and out of your partner easily enough, but again without any friction there is nothing to stimulate the nerves and it’s fun for only one person…and even that is reduced.

  14. i want to spray this stuff on the bottom of my surfboard, and on my wet suit, and on my hair so it always looks perfectly dry and styled while im surfing

  15. When applied to a boat hull, it converts the boat to a hovercraft, so marine pollution shouldn’t be an issue.

    It’s not easy to make a surface that is both hydro- and oleophobic, so kudos to whoever came up with this. Essentially what they’ve done is created the most unlikeable material yet known to science, a surface that is such a toxic asshole that even chemicals with low self-esteem who are usually, you know, kind of attracted to that kind of mistreatment are repelled. My guess is they synthesize it from tears harvested from internet trolls as they cry themselves to sleep.

    1. This image made me laugh heartily for a long time.  And repulsed me a little, which means you’ve won BoingBoing for the day.  Go home, take the day off work, you’re a winner!

    2. I have a dumb question. Does a propeller work by using friction to push the water, or by the hydraulic properties of the push against water?

      Probably also worded badly.

      1.  a propeller moves water from in front of it to behind it, this created negative pressure in front and positive pressure behind, as the water moves to restore balance the craft moves forward to do it all again.
        friction is not needed and in fact the LESS friction the better, the key is the shape.

    1. Oh, that’s dirty pool.  Your victim thinks he’s just taken the coveted “phantom dump” that leaves behind a clean-wipe surface, but no.  Oh, no he didn’t.

  16. Coating tubes to pull water against gravity (capillary action) would be a good application. Plants do this, and I imagine it would be much easier to do if the tubes were super slippery.

    1.  Capillary action is based on the ability of water to wet the interior of the capillaries.  This will prevent capillary action.

  17. (Never mind; most of my questions are in fact answered — or at least cited as questions — with a bit more reading.)

  18. Hydrophobia is simply pseudo-scientific jargonese for rabies, my friends.
    Ask yourself this – are you willing for this corporation (MY GOD! A CORPORATION!!!) to infect countless puppies with rabies simply to make your gardening gloves easier to clean?!
    You’ve a harder heart than mine if you can collaborate with these evil swine.
    Not on my watch. No sir!

  19. “Mommy, mommy!  Can I go out to play?”
    “Sure honey, just close your eyes for a minute and let me spray this on you…”

    1. Or boots. Great for Toronto, eh. Though I wonder if you’d end up spritzing snow on everyone’s faces as you walked around.

  20. How do things with this coating decompose?
    Will land fills and dumps be full of things that repel moisture and resist all bacteria?

    1. It will repel all the garbage and empty the land fill solving the crisis of overflowing landfills. Also the bacteria that do manage to eat it will repel all food sources and starve to death or become death itself oh wait I was not supposed to release the zombie creating property information to the public?

  21. I think this would be terrific for aircraft de-icing (or, rather, to obviate the need for de-icing at all).  I fucking love science!

  22. jebyrnes, as a marine biologist, you actually ought to apply some scepticism to the idea the stuff is used in larger quantities. I’m positive that it only works if nano-scale particles are a part of the game. These will end up in your transects, one way or the other. They might accumulate, via plancton, in the foodchain. This stuff needs research. A lot of research.

    Oh, and just by the way, Engineer_, dig this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D4g_XWhyKs

  23. Great production value on this portal fan animation, but perplexing that they didnt include any characters.  

  24. What happens when you coat the inside of a pipe with this? Do you get frictionless laminar flow, or no benefit?  There’s lots of “pie in the sky” tech that frictionless flow would solve, like ocean-thermal power generation.

  25. Aw man – who is Fipi Lele? I was all excited that a submission I sent in was greenlit.I guess I wasn’t the first to see this that day.

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