The results of the research, sponsored by Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., could find its way into products in five years or so, said Daniel Carter, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering and one of the inventors.
"The chemicals that we use are the same things found in fabric softeners and detergents," he said. "It is the way that we apply it that is different."
Shedding water during the spin cycle means less time in the dryer, which means lower energy bills. A 10% reduction in drying time could save consumers $266 million annually nationwide, estimated Carter and co-inventor Dinesh Shah. The university is applying for a patent, which it will then license to Procter.