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Nasal hair-inspired material can manipulate water, light

Posted on Aug 07 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 7 : Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a new material with micro human hairs that move in response to a magnetic field.

When the hair move, they can direct water upward - against gravity - or block light like a window blind.

"You could coat this on your car windshield to manipulate rain or sunlight," said Yangying Zhu, a lead researcher from MIT.

So you could filter how much solar radiation you want coming in, and also shed raindrops. This is an opportunity for the future, he added.

The material is inspired by "cilia" - tiny hair in human nasal passages that move to remove dust and other foreign particles.

In experiments, the tiny hair could change the direction in which water flowed by tilting the pillars and water even moved straight up, defying gravity.

Moving the hair also controlled the light that went through, based on the angle at which the pillars were bent.

With these applications, the material could make waterproof coatings or pump up water along a wall while giving shade at the same time.

The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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