Developments to Watch
TAKING THE TEFLON FACTOR BEYOND POTS, PANS--AND POLITICOS
First came Teflon, which prevented food from sticking to pans. Now comes a nonstick coating that can protect walls from graffiti, car paint from guano stains, and counters from spills.
The still-unnamed product, from Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich., starts out as a soapy liquid that can be sprayed or wiped onto a surface. As it dries, into a film, fluorocarbon chains similar to those in Teflon form at the surface and render it slick and stain-resistant. Grime rinses right off. Spray paint beads up and can be wiped away with a cloth. Finally, the film is water-based, so there aren't any noxious fumes--a plus for carmakers and other manufacturers who might coat their products with it.
October's Research & Development magazine names the film one of 1990's top innovations. Still, Dow has no plans to market the stuff itself. Instead, it wants to license it to a manufacturer with more experience in paints and coatings.EDITED BY ROBERT BUDERI