Picture it and Write: Water Hating

by joetwo

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture ir and write by Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, I am only using it for inspiration. Anyway Enjoy.

Water Hating

“Eureka! I think we’ve got it!”

Bob looked up from his desk at Phil, the grad student who had just punched his door open and shouted out his announcement. There had been many false starts on  this project so he decided to play it cool “Got what?” he asked.

“What we have been looking for Professor.” Phil really was excited, it was as genuine as Bob had ever seen him. “I think we’ve cracked it.”

Bob was intrigued but decided to withhold his judgement. “Let me be the judge of that.” He got up off his chair “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

They walked together down a flight of stairs from the clean faculty offices to the grubby warren of laboratory spaces and write-up rooms. There was a faint smell of solvent and body odor in the air. After a few turns left and right they found the door with Peterson Lab written in black marker. Bob ignored the missing plaque as well as the other signs like You must be at least this crazy to work here and Warning! Don’t feed the Post Docs and opened the door to be greeted by the sound of giggling.

It was Fan, one of the Post Docs whose “Tee Hee” was coming from a huddle of Students and Post Docs around Phil’s bench spaces. There was an “ooooooo” from the assembled group followed by another giggle from Fan. Bob coughed loudly and everyone turned startled to greet Bob. “Oh Hi Professor!” One of the students said “You should see what Phil came up with.”

The crowd parted for Bob like Moses parting the Red Sea. In the center of the huddle was a large beaker with what looked like a piece of fabric in the centre. There was a wash bottle labeled Tap Water which Phil took in his hand. “Watch this” he said and squeezed the bottle gently. There was a small dribble of water from the spout that fell onto the fabric but before the water hit it bounced back off as if it were repelled by some magical force.

“Oh My God” Bob remarked, a smile filling his face, “How did you do this?”

“I took your lead professor.” Phil explained  “I added an extra hydrophobic group to the polymer chain giving it a over all non-polar field.” He dribbled more water on the fabric, it too flew off. “It looks like it is beyond superhydrophobic, water actively avoids it. This is ultrahydrophobic.”

Wordlessly, Bob took the bottle from his student and dropped water on the fabric himself. It again performed perfectly. “How much of this have you made?” He asked. “A whole sheet” Phil replied “It is surprisingly easy to manufacture.” Bob looked at Phil, his smile growing even bigger. “Do you still have your camera?” Bob asked Jenny, another student “I have an idea.”

That was how the video of Bob Peterson’s new style of Boot came into being. The miracle material that not only kept water out but actively repelled it was a media and commercial success. There would be many more applications for this wonder material. But this was the first, and it was a very good start.

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