Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Water may not run uphill, but it practically flies off new surface

Abstract:
Engineering researchers have crafted a flat surface that refuses to get wet. Water droplets skitter across it like ball bearings tossed on ice.

The inspiration? Not wax. Not glass. Not even Teflon.

Water may not run uphill, but it practically flies off new surface

Gainesville, FL | Posted on February 26th, 2010

Instead, University of Florida engineers have achieved what they label in a new paper a "nearly perfect hydrophobic interface" by reproducing, on small bits of flat plastic, the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders.

"They have short hairs and longer hairs, and they vary a lot. And that is what we mimic," said Wolfgang Sigmund, a professor of materials science and engineering.

A paper about the surface, which works equally well with hot or cold water, appears in this month's edition of the journal Langmuir.

Spiders use their water-repelling hairs to stay dry or avoid drowning, with water spiders capturing air bubbles and toting them underwater to breathe. Potential applications for UF's ultra-water-repellent surfaces are many, Sigmund said. When water scampers off the surface, it picks up and carries dirt with it, in effect making the surface self-cleaning. As such, it is ideal for some food packaging, or windows, or solar cells that must stay clean to gather sunlight, he said. Boat designers might coat hulls with it, making boats faster and more efficient.

Sigmund said he began working on the project about five years ago after picking up on the work of a colleague. Sigmund was experimenting with microscopic fibers when he turned to spiders, noted by biologists for at least a century for their water-repelling hairs.

As a scientist and engineer, he said, his natural tendency was to make all his fibers the same size and distance apart. But he learned that spider hairs are both long and short and variously curved and straight, forming a surface that is anything but uniform. He decided to try to mimic this random, chaotic surface using plastic hairs varying in size but averaging about 600 microns, or millionths of a meter.

The results came as a great surprise.

"Most people that publish in this field always go for these perfect structures, and we are the first to show that the bad ones are the better ones," Sigmund said. "Of course this is a finding in a lab. This is not something you expect from theory."

To be sure, water-repelling surfaces or treatments are already common, spanning shoe wax to caulk to car windshield treatments. Scientists have also reproduced other biologically inspired water repelling surfaces, including ones patterned after lotus leaves.

But Sigmund said the UF surface may be the most or among the most water phobic. Close-up photographs of water droplets on dime-sized plastic squares show that the droplets maintain their spherical shape, whether standing still or moving. Droplets bulge down on most other surfaces, dragging a kind of tail as they move. Sigmund said his surface is the first to shuttle droplets with no tail.

Also, unlike many water-repelling surfaces, the UF one relies entirely on the microscopic shape and patterns of the material — rather than its composition.

In other words, physics, not chemistry, is what makes it water repellent. Theoretically, that means the technique could transform even the most water-sopping materials - say, sponges - into water-shedding ones. It also means that Sigmund's surfaces need never slough off dangerous chemicals. Provided the surface material itself is made safe, making it water repellent introduces no new risks.

Although he hasn't published the research yet, Sigmund said a variation of the surface also repels oil, a first for the industry.

Sigmund said making the water or oil-repelling surfaces involves applying a hole-filled membrane to a polymer, heating the two, and then peeling off the membrane. Made gooey by the heat, the polymer comes out of the holes in the desired thin, randomly sized fibers.

While inexpensive, it is hard to produce successful surfaces with great reliability, and different techniques need to be developed to make the surfaces in commercially available quantities and size, Sigmund said. Also, he said, more research is needed to make the surfaces hardy and resistant to damage.

UF patents have already drawn a great deal of industry attention, he said. "We are at the very beginning but there is a lot of interest from industry, because our surface is the first one that relies only on surface features and can repel hot water, cold water, and if we change the chemistry, both oil and water."

Doctoral student Shu-Hau Hsu and undergraduate Eli Rubin contributed to the research, funded in part by a scholarship from Ohio-based OMNOVA Solutions Foundation.

####

About University of Florida
The University of Florida (UF) is a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university. The state's oldest, largest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation's most academically diverse public universities. UF has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service. It is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belongs to the Association of American Universities.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer
Aaron Hoover

352-392-0186

Source
Wolfgang Sigmund

352-246-3396

Copyright © University of Florida

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Dolomite to launch Meros TCU-100 temperature controller at Lab-on-a-Chip & Microarray World Congress September 15th, 2014

Fonon at Cutting-Edge of 3D Military Printing: Live-Combat Scenarios Could See a Decisive Advantage with 3D Printing September 15th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Marine/Watercraft

NRL Researchers Develop Harder Ceramic for Armor Windows April 29th, 2014

XPRIZE Opens Team Registration for $2 Million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE: Teams From Private, Public, and Social Sectors Encouraged to Compete in Global Competition to Revolutionize Ocean pH Sensor Technology February 12th, 2014

Paving the way for real-world nanotechnology products September 29th, 2013

Zycraft Completes Phase 1 Development of Vigilant Unmanned Surface Vessel September 20th, 2013

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'Squid skin' metamaterials project yields vivid color display: Rice lab creates RGB color display technology with aluminum nanorods September 15th, 2014

Fonon at Cutting-Edge of 3D Military Printing: Live-Combat Scenarios Could See a Decisive Advantage with 3D Printing September 15th, 2014

Seeking Nanoscale Defenses for Biological and Chemical Threats: WPI co-organizes a NATO workshop to improve the detection and decontamination of biological and chemical agents September 13th, 2014

Berkeley Lab Licenses Boron Nitride Nanotube Technology: New material has unique mechanical and electronic properties September 13th, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Academic/Education

Malvern technology delivers Malvern reliability in multi-disciplinary lab at Queen Mary University London September 9th, 2014

State University of New York Trustees Unanimously Approve SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) as New Name for Merged SUNY CNSE / SUNYIT September 9th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

RMIT delivers $30m boost to micro and nano-tech August 26th, 2014

Announcements

Dolomite to launch Meros TCU-100 temperature controller at Lab-on-a-Chip & Microarray World Congress September 15th, 2014

Fonon at Cutting-Edge of 3D Military Printing: Live-Combat Scenarios Could See a Decisive Advantage with 3D Printing September 15th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Berkeley Lab Licenses Boron Nitride Nanotube Technology: New material has unique mechanical and electronic properties September 13th, 2014

Secure Computing for the ‘Everyman': Quantum computing goes to market in tech transfer agreement with Allied Minds September 2nd, 2014

New analytical technology reveals 'nanomechanical' surface traits August 29th, 2014

AQUANOVA receives Technology Leadership Award 2014 FROST & SULLIVAN honors NovaSOL® Technology again August 12th, 2014

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Newly-Developed Nanosensor Controls Amount of Edible Dyes in Foodstuff Products September 5th, 2014

Iran Unveils 5 Home-Made Knowledge-Based Products August 25th, 2014

Nanotechnology Helps Production of Super Adsorbent Polymers August 21st, 2014

Success in Intracellular Imaging of Cesium Distribution in Plants Used for Cesium Absorption August 19th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Elusive Quantum Transformations Found Near Absolute Zero: Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University researchers measured the quantum fluctuations behind a novel magnetic material's ultra-cold ferromagnetic phase transition September 15th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

First Colloid and Polymer Science Lecture awarded to Orlin D. Velev: Chemical engineer honored for outstanding research in colloid science September 12th, 2014

Advanced Light Source Sets Microscopy Record| Berkeley Lab Researchers Achieve Highest Resolution Ever with X-ray Microscopy September 11th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Indium/Copper Sulfide Compound Semi-Conductor Synthesized through New Method September 8th, 2014

Material development on the nanoscale: Doped graphene nanoribbons with potential September 8th, 2014

Layered graphene sandwich for next generation electronics September 8th, 2014

Construction

Nano Bonds Increase Raw Strength of Fireproof Concretes August 18th, 2014

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Protein Nanoparticles from Chicken Feather June 11th, 2014

Scientists Produce Self-Cleaning Coatings on Glass Substrate March 17th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE