Slippery Coatings to Promote Energy Conversion

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OPEN 2012
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Project Term:
04/26/2013 - 09/07/2019

Technology Description:

Adaptive Surface Technologies is developing a slippery coating that can be used for a number of technology applications including oil and water pipelines, wastewater treatment systems, solar panels (to prevent dust accumulation), refrigeration (to prevent ice buildup), as well as many other energy-relevant applications. Contamination, build-up of microorganisms, and corrosion of untreated surfaces can lead to inefficiencies in the system. Adaptive Surface Technologies’ liquid-based coating is tailored to adhere to and then spread out evenly over a rough surface, forming a completely smooth surface that inhibits buildup. Since it is liquid-based, it can easily repair itself if scratched or damaged, resulting in a stable coating with the potential to significantly outperform conventional technologies, such as Teflon, in friction and drag reduction and in repelling a broad range of contaminants.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Adaptive Surface Technologies’ slippery, liquid-based, self-repairing coatings would benefit a number of applications that would result in energy savings and increased efficiencies in various energy-intensive applications. An illustrative example is the application of the coating to pipelines, with impacts detailed below.


Improving the energy efficiency in fluid transport processes can help the U.S. maintain its technological leadership in the liquid transportation market that currently is greater than $10 billion.


Enhancing fluid transport energy efficiency by 50% could potentially have an energy savings greater than 400 trillion BTU/year.


Improving system inefficiencies by reducing contamination and build-up could significantly reduce energy consumption and increase functional efficiency of these energy-intensive industrial sectors.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Joseph King
Project Contact:
Philseok Kim
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Harvard University
Pennsylvania State University

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