Washington, March 21 (ANI): Scientists in China have built mini prototypes for the most buoyant boats ever, which are made of copper mesh coated with a highly water repellent material that can float extremely well.
According to a report in National Geographic News, the boats, made out of the superhydrophobic mesh, even stay afloat "when the upper edges are just a hair below the surface of the water."
"In fact, these boats are able to carry a load exceeding the maximal capacities calculated from the boat's volume," said study co-author Qinmin Pan, a chemist at the Harbin Institute of Technology.
The coating, made of silver nitrate and other chemicals, creates an "air film" around the copper mesh, which prevents direct contact with water.
"The presence of air film increases the water displace-volume of boats to a certain extent, leading to a large loading capacity," Pan said.
The film also prevents water from seeping through the mesh.
Since the copper mesh is flexible, scaling up the technology to carry humans would be "problematic," according to Pan.
The researchers instead envision small-scale applications such as aquatic robots for environmental surveillance.
Since the water-repellant material may make it easier for the boats to move through water, Pan said, "The present finding may be extended to the design of novel superfloating and drag-reducing-fast moving-aquatic devices." (ANI)