Hydrophobic material has been around for quite awhile now and there are many impressive videos of this material and how water behaves on it, How about a pair of jeans that never get wet? Or a windshield that needs no wipers? Or a marine vessel with extremely low skin friction(the major source of drag)?
The problem has always been the durability of the hydrophobic material itself. Apparently it easily rubbed off or scratched, and overall not very durable. Until now.
This new material can be sprayed on and has self healing properties. According to the paper presented by the University this new material can recover "even after being abraded, scratched, burned, plasma-cleaned, flattened, sonicated and chemically attacked,".
This durability is very important for applications in the marine industry in terms of the need for re-application over a period of time, especially for larger vessels where drydock time is few and far between, and very expensive.
For a more detailed explanation go to the Michigan News page.