Unsinkable Metal
Photo credit: University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster
University of Rochester and the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics researchers have figured out how to make unsinkable metals using superhydrophobic (water repelling) materials. To accomplish this, they created structures made up of two treated aluminum surfaces facing each other, connected by a small central pole, designed to trap the maximum amount of air. What they ended up with was a virtually unsinkable metal. Read more for a video and additional information.

The researchers claim this etching technique can be used on just about any metal or other material, thus rendering them unsinkable and used for a variety of applications. For example, they could be used on ships and / or flotation devices to keep them afloat even after catastrophic damage, and electronic monitoring devices for waterproofing purposes.

That was a very interesting inspiration. The key insight is that multifaceted superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces can trap a large air volume, which points towards the possibility of using SH surfaces to create buoyant devices,” said Chunlei Guo, professor of optics and physics at University of Rochester.