Washing dishes is the least fun part of any dinner party. Even if you have a dishwasher, the time it takes to rinse the plates, load and unload could be better spent downing a martini with friends.
A Swedish design firm called Tomorrow Machine has a solution. They've invented a dishware prototype that cleans itself, no dishwasher or soap required.
The dishware is made of nanocellulose, a material derived from wood fiber. This makes the plates and bowls extra lightweight and durable. As for the self-cleaning part, the firm looked to the surface of a lotus leaf, which naturally repels water.
The prototype dishware features a superhydrofobic coating that rejects water and dirt, the firm said. It was developed by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. To make the coating, the company used a process called rapid expansion of supercritical solutions that involves using carbon dioxide to dissolve a wax at a high temperature. The material is then sprayed onto a surface.
The dishware was developed in an effort to find ways of using cellulose from the trees in Swedish forests. It could also help the environment by saving resources such as water or chemicals to keep it clean.
Tomorrow Machine also specializes in food packaging and is working on containers that will decompose along with whatever is inside.
The dishware isn't available for purchase anywhere yet, and the self-cleaning coating is still in development. But we anticipate cooks, people who live with less than tidy roommates and teenagers with chores around the world are waiting for its release with bated breath.
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