OK, this is an ad. I can't vouch for it. I'm almost embarrassed to be showing it to you. But you have to take a look. When I saw it yesterday, I had to pick my jaw off the floor. This product, called "Ultra Ever Dry" is a nano-tech coating you can spray on any number of different surfaces, shoes, cinder blocks, coats. (Your hands? Probably not.) It's superhydrophobic (it repels water) and oleophobic (repels hydrocarbons) — but words don't do it justice.
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.
I have so many questions.
Trolling various Internet sites, I found crazier questions, some of them sci-fi delightful. A guy wondered what would happen if he coated his boat with this stuff. If water is no longer a drag on your forward motion, maybe his boat would shoot through the water like a rocket. He wanted to try it. But when he wrote the company, they warned that at fast speeds, with less drag, "overall stability" might be affected. Meaning he'd get dunked.
Which raises another question. What if you coated yourself with this stuff and dove into a pool? Surrounded now by a thin coat of air, would you sink? Struggle? Hmm, thought one commenter, "Probably you get ejected from the pool." Whooosh!
Nanotechnology is starting to get interesting.
I realize we don't have a lot of information about this product, not yet, and we may discover after a few months in general use, it turns out to be pretty basic water-resister, not unlike many products already on the market, in which case, my hat goes off to whoever wrote and shot that video. There's an art in getting people excited and curious. After all, consider the greatest ad ever, ("It picks up pinecones!") for a garden tool called the "Wonder Rake 5000":
Robert Krulwich is co-host of Radiolab, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning program that examines big questions in science, philosophy and the human experience through compelling storytelling. Today, Radiolab is one of public radio's most popular shows. Its podcasts are downloaded over 4 million times each month and the program is carried on 437 stations across the nation. In addition to Radiolab, Krulwich reports for National Public Radio. “Krulwich Wonders” is his NPR blog featuring drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science.