It was back in 2009 when professor Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck of the University of East Anglia, England, and Belgium, acquired the Ig Nobel prize for physics – for calculating how to make a teapot spout that does not drip.
Coincidentally (or not, as the case may be), in that very same year the teapot spout drip problem was approached in a quite different way by a team from Laboratoire LPMCN, at the Université de Lyon, France, and Le LadHyX, at the l’École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France.
In a set of experiments, the researchers not only employed super hydrophobic teapot coatings (e.g. soot), but also wired up their spouts to a 300 volt electrical power source in an attempt to avoid drips. They met with success.
“…we have demonstrated the crucial influence of surface wettability on separation of rapid flows. As a paradigm superhydrophobic surfaces fully avoid dripping, and thus beat the ‘teapot effect’.”
– say the team in their paper entitled ‘Beating the teapot Effect’(published in arXiv:0910.3306v1 [cond-mat.soft] 17 Oct 2009).