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Innovation at the Surface
surfacescienceblog

Three Ways the Science of Surfaces is Changing Your Life

Posted by Battelle Insider on Oct 17, 2016

Why are we talking about surfaces? What kind of surfaces? (Not the Microsoft kind.) Why do they matter? Do they really have any impact on my life?

All good questions.

A surface at its most basic is just the outside layer of an object. But there is significant power in a surface – especially when you add in some top-notch science.

Functionalized surfaces are surfaces or coatings that have been engineered to interact with their environment in response to defined triggers. Think of a coating that can generate heat when electricity is applied or an antimicrobial surface that uses nanostructure to prevent bacterial adhesion.

Surface science is a relatively new field, but one with great promise and a direct impact on consumers. Here are the three ways we believe this science will change your life:

No. 1:  Never eat another stale cookie.

A low tack adhesive created by Battelle and Mondelez International is breakthrough technology that enables food manufacturers to use innovative packaging that is easily resealable. The adhesive only sticks to itself and doesn’t get fouled by crumbs. So when you grab a handful of cookies and then close the package, you know you will have fresh cookies to enjoy when you go back for more.

No. 2:  Don’t let ice keep you grounded.

Novel technology – called Battelle HeatCoat™ – uses carbon nanotubes in a coating to run a current and provide heat to specific areas of an aircraft. The heat from the coating prevents ice accumulation. Although the original use for this technology is unmanned aircraft, there is significant potential for the technology to have an impact on consumers. Learn more.

No. 3:  Feel good about the medical devices you need.

No one wants to have sandpaper used on their skin, but that’s exactly what happens in certain medical procedures, like EKGs. Abrasion of the skin is needed to ensure the electrodes work properly. But we’ve created a new gel mixture that can be applied to electrodes during manufacturing. These new electrodes can help reduce procedure time and sandpaper is no longer needed. Learn more.

Battelle has a number of projects underway related to functionalized surfaces. Learn more about our expertise in this field.

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