A new material developed by Rensselaer Polytenic Institute researchers called “nanodrapes” is the thinnest material known to science. At less than a nanometer thick this material is said to improve and enhance water-resistant properties of materials without changing the physical appearance of the materials beneath it. Developed from graphene, researchers believe this breakthrough could provide beneficial properties and lead to the enhancement of self-cleaning surfaces,high-throughput assays and other applications requiring the motion of liquid droplets on solid surfaces. A Professor of Engineering at Rensselaer provided important insight that this graphene nanodrape material not only prevents the absorption of water into surfaces but it is unseen to the natural eye and causes very little change to the texture of a material beneath.
This graphene nanodrape material works by causing water droplets to bead up similar to the affects of awater repellant. This is done by preventing the water droplets from becoming pinned to the surface of a material. A huge reduction in surface friction allows this to happen. The graphene used in this new material is developed by placing single layers of carbon atoms in a nanoscale “chicken wire fence” arrangement and then laying this on the top of a copper substrate. After covered in a polymer film researchers then utilize weak acids to remove the copper producing a polymer layered graphene film. The polymer layer is then removed using acetone and leaving behind the impermeable graphene drape.