That’s what Italian scientists claim to have invented. The Telegraph reports:
A group of European scientists could have the answer to all your washing-up woes after creating the world’s first self-cleaning metal.
Inspired by the leaves of a lotus flower, the group of Italian scientists invented a self-cleaning, antibacterial metal surface designed to repel water using a criss-cross pattern produced by lasers to wash away any dirt or grime.
The surface creates miniature air pockets to limit the contact area between between the surface and the liquid, causing the liquid to simply “bounce off” instead of sticking to the surface.
. . .
Though the process of manufacturing is still in the early stages, the scientists said their new technique would initially be used to create antibacterial surfaces for use in the food production industry.
There’s more at the link.
I’m intrigued by the possibilities. Food preparation is an obvious first step, but what if this technology could be adapted to other areas? Could we, for the first time, have a self-cleaning car that never needed to be washed? That should gladden most men’s hearts! What about roof surfaces that automatically shed snow and ice, without allowing it to build up until its weight reaches dangerous levels? The possibilities seem endless, if this is as good as the scientists claim.
Of course, on a sillier level, one might make a tin foil hat from this material and advertise it as not only blocking intrusive radio waves, but shedding them too!
So how well does is handle grease and oils? If that sticks, then you still have a problem.
If the liquids don't make contact with the metal, what will that do to heat transfer and therefor cooking time.
Except if the surface is damaged it loses its hydrophobic properties, unfortunately. It's still awesome though!
Reminds me of some sci-fi story where they had "friction-less" surfaces, including (IIRC) toilet bowls that were self-cleaning. Commercial aircraft could benefit from such an improvement.
Roof tiles are already self-cleaning, look for products with the "nano" identifier.
"What about roof surfaces that automatically shed snow and ice, without allowing it to build up until its weight reaches dangerous levels?"
Roof surfaces? Think *wing* surfaces!