May 20, 2024

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Wettability – made and measured to order – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Industrial applications frequently phone for surfaces designed to attract or repel water. EU-funded researchers are devising new solutions to characterise and manufacture these types of surfaces and will make their conclusions general public in a new Open Innovation Setting.


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© PRUSSIA Art, #278535975 source:inventory.adobe.com 2020

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its means to drop water and retain itself clean and dry. Can we understand from biology and structure elements with related properties? That is the objective of the fourteen educational and industrial partners in the EU-funded OYSTER undertaking who are checking out the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most elements are either in speak to with the ambiance or with water or other liquids,’ states undertaking coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the College of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may perhaps want to management how the water interacts with people surfaces.’ A surface area that repels water, like the lotus leaf, is said to be hydrophobic. A surface area that draws in water is hydrophilic.

The impetus behind the undertaking came from business. A person business was trying to find new hydrophilic elements for smooth speak to lenses whilst an additional required to make hydrophobic aircraft home windows that drop water and are self-cleansing. ‘These were two absolutely unique applications but the scientific dilemma was the same: to start with of all, how to management the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to evaluate the wettability.’

Triangular tactic

OYSTER is based on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of three pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. First, the undertaking is performing with the European Elements Characterisation Council to structure normal solutions for measuring and characterising the wettability properties of surfaces.

Then researchers will use highly developed manufacturing and coating technologies to make surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to produce products that can predict what the wettability will be by switching the chemistry or morphology of the surface area. So, we are performing on these three primary pillars and making an attempt to convey these highly developed applications to actual industrial items.’

Now at the halfway place of the four-year undertaking, the researchers will soon finish a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other surface area properties. ‘We are currently screening samples from the industrial partners,’ Sebastiani states. ‘Next we will use the protocols to structure and make new elements with controlled wettability.’

Open innovation

Even though the project’s speedy objective is to create methods for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, an additional purpose is for OYSTER to guide the way in building what is acknowledged as an Open Innovation Setting, a internet system wherever researchers and firms can share tips.

‘The results of the undertaking will not be restricted to the two primary applications and the firms concerned,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the knowledge and the know-how that we will create all through the undertaking. Then we will be able to find other firms, other SMEs in individual, that may perhaps be fascinated in these applications.’

Programs could be in any area wherever a strong surface area interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most significant will be prosthetic implants these types of as knee and hip joints, intended to bond with the bordering tissue. ‘If you can management the wettability you can management quite finely how the cells improve on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and relevant jobs and, most importantly, to boost the Open Innovation Setting for business as a full. ‘In foreseeable future, there will be parts for any form of industrial dilemma,’ he states. ‘This could be an motor for resolving challenges coming from business in a a great deal more quickly, additional successful way.’