Steel is ubiquitous in our daily lives. We cook in stainless steel skillets, ride steel subway cars over steel rails to our offices in steel-framed building. Steel screws hold together broken bones, steel braces straighten crooked teeth, steel scalpels remove tumors. Most of the goods we consume are delivered by ships and trucks mostly built of steel.
While various grades of steel have been developed over the past 50 years, steel surfaces have remained largely unchanged — and unimproved. The steel of today is as prone as ever to the corrosive effects of water and salt and abrasive materials such as sand. Steel surgical tools can still carry microorganisms that cause deadly infections.
Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have demonstrated a way to make steel stronger, safer and more durable. Their new surface coating, made from rough nanoporous tungsten oxide, is the most durable anti-fouling and anti-corrosive material to date, capable of repelling any kind of liquid even after sustaining intense structural abuse. Read more