Skip to content ↓


Surface engineering

Download RSS feed: News Articles / In the Media / Audio

Displaying 1 - 15 of 17 news clips related to this topic.


Mashable reporter Emmett Smith spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new technique to clear dust from solar panels without using water. The new method uses “electrostatic repulsion, where an electrode that glides above the panel electrically charges dust particles and subsequently repels them.”

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed a new contactless method to clean solar panels that could save billions of gallons of water, reports Anuradha Varanasi for Popular Science. “I was amazed at the sheer amount of pure water that is required for cleaning solar panels,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “The water footprint of the solar industry is only going to grow in the future. We need to figure out how to make solar farms more sustainable.”

Tech Briefs

Prof. Kripa Varanasi, graduate student Sreedath Panath, and a team of researchers are developing a water-free way to clear dust off of solar panels, reports Billy Hurley and Ed Brown for Tech Briefs. “Water is such a precious commodity, and people need to be careful about how to make use of this resource that we have,” says Varanasi. “The solar industry really needs to keep this in mind; we don’t want to be solving one problem and creating another.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new water-free system that uses static electricity to clear dust from solar panels, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “By using this technique, we can recover up to 95 percent of a solar panel’s power output,” explains graduate student Sreedath Panat.

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Chen Ly writes that MIT researchers have developed a new technique that uses static electricity to remove the dust from solar panels, which could save around 45 billion liters of water annually. “I think water is a precious commodity that is very undervalued,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “What I’m hoping is this will spur more people to think about water issues.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a solar-powered desalination system that “avoids salt buildup and could provide a family with continuous drinking water for only $4,” reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “The researchers hope to develop their device into something that can be mass produced and used by individuals and families, especially for those living in remote communities,” writes Fauzia.

The Economist

The Economist spotlights how Colgate will be using the super slippery, food-safe coating developed by LiquiGlide, an MIT startup, to create a new line of toothpastes “that promise to deliver every last drop.” The Economist notes: “Besides pleasing customers who like to get their money’s worth, the new, slippery toothpaste tubes should help with recycling.”

The Boston Globe

LiquiGlide, an MIT startup, has announced several new partnerships aimed at developing sustainable, zero-waste packaging solutions, reports Janelle Nanos for The Boston Globe. “LiquiGlide wants to fix one of life’s longstanding frustrations: trying to squeeze out the end of a toothpaste tube,” writes Nanos. “Since it’s often difficult to empty out sticky pastes, gels, and creams, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of those substances are discarded annually, still stuck to the insides of their containers.”

Boston 25 News

Prof. Kripa Varanasi speaks with Boston 25 reporter Jim Morelli about a food-safe coating, called LiquiGlide, that makes it possible to squeeze every drop out of containers of items like ketchup and toothpaste. “It’s a universal kind of a problem,” Varanasi says. “The interface between the liquid and the solid is what makes these products stick to containers.”

The Economist

Prof. Kripa Varanasi has developed a new hydrophobic surface that limits the spread of water droplets. The researchers etched a pattern of small rings onto the surface, which created a series of “water bowls” intended to “constrain the spread of droplets falling on them, thus encouraging the rapid ejection of those droplets back into the air,” reports The Economist.


MIT researchers have a developed a method to make liquid droplets bounce away faster on water-repellant surfaces. “Aside from reducing ice buildup on airplanes, or even the giant sweeping blades of a wind turbine, this research could also benefit waterproof garments, which are a big market for hydrophobic materials,” reports Andrew Liszewski of Gizmodo.


Oscar Williams of The Huffington Post writes that MIT researchers have designed a coating that allows liquids to slid out of containers, which could cut down on food waste. “In packages there are about 40 billion packs with material stuck in packages so the technology has the potential to significantly reduce waste,” says MIT alumnus and LiquiGlide co-founder David Smith. 

BBC News

In this article and video, BBC reporter Pallab Ghosh examines how MIT researchers have developed a coating that makes it possible to squeeze every drop of ketchup and toothpaste out of a container. “Because the coating is a composite of solid and liquid, it can be tailored to the product,” explains Prof. Kripa Varanasi.


MIT startup LiquiGlide has announced that they are partnering with the international food packaging company Orkla to use their non-stick coating inside mayonnaise bottles, reports Katie Palmer for Wired. Palmer explains that LiquiGlide has “created an algorithm to optimize the thermodynamic relationships between a textured solid on the inside of the bottle, its liquid 'lubricant,' and the product in question.”

BBC News

MIT spinout LiquiGlide has signed a deal with Orkla that will allow the company to use LiquiGlide’s non-stick coating in their mayonnaise bottles, reports Chris Foxx for the BBC. Foxx explains that a customized version of the LiquiGlide “coating is created for each product, resulting in a "permanently wet" surface inside containers that helps the product slip out.”