PaintSquare.com
      | Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise
  

 

Download our free BWater Works Coating Systems eResource Book

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Hungry Plant Inspires Slippery Coating

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

The crafty pitcher plant, which traps its prey by creating a slick surface, has inspired Harvard scientists to create a liquid-repellant coating that works much the same way.

The new material repels just about any type of liquid, even under harsh conditions, giving it strong potential as an anti-fouling, anti-icing or anti-graffiti coatings, the researchers say.

Slippery When Wet

“Bioinspired self-repairing slippery surfaces with pressure-stable omniphobicity” (or “Slippery When Wetted,”), published online Sept. 21 in the journal Nature, details the new research and the scientific quest for a durable synthetic surface that repels liquids.

 Pitcher plant

 Photo: Walter Federle, Ulrike Bauer and Holger Bohn

To repel water, the pitcher plant locks in a water layer, creating a slick coating on top. The fluid itself becomes the repellent surface.

For more than 10 years, researchers have drawn their inspiration from lotus leaves in developing liquid-repellent, micro-textured surfaces.

Those “surfaces are, however, still plagued with problems that restrict their practical applications,” the researchers note. Among the drawbacks: The materials have been expensive to produce and unable to self-heal.

Lube Job

The new approach, inspired by Nepenthes pitcher plants, “is conceptually different from the lotus effect, because we use nano/microstructured substrates to lock in place the infused lubricating fluid,” the authors say.

The team has created a simple, versatile lubricant that, when infused in fluid, forms a “stable, defect-free and inert ‘slippery’ interface.”

This so-called Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surface (SLIPS) outperforms both its natural and synthetic counterparts in its ability to repel a wide variety of liquids and solids, says principal investigator Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

The coating repairs itself almost instantaneously when damaged, resists ice, is easy and inexpensive to manufacture, and stands up to harsh environments, the researchers say.

When Plants Meet Ants

The research is a spin on the behavior of the pitcher plant, whose cupped leaves become virtually frictionless surfaces after a rain. “Sweet-smelling and elegant, the carnivore attracts ants, spiders, and even little frogs,” Harvard reports in an article. “One by one, they slide to their doom.”

(The Harvard coating was also tested with ants, to the ants’ detriment.)

“The effect is similar to when a car hydroplanes—the tires literally gliding on the water, rather than the road,” says lead author Tak-Sing Wong, a postdoctoral fellow in Aizenberg’s lab. “In the case of the unlucky ants, the oil on the bottom of their feet will not stick to the slippery coating on the plant. It’s like oil floating on the surface of a puddle.”

Versatility, Durability

Researchers say the effect persists even under extreme conditions: in high pressures (as much as 675 atmospheres, equivalent to seven kilometers under the sea), humidity and colder temperatures. In outdoor testing conducted after a snowstorm, SLIPS withstood the freezing temperatures and even repelled ice, they said.

 A Harvard illustration shows one step in the process of manufacturing SLIPS

Image: Peter Allen and James C. Weaver 

A Harvard illustration shows one step in the process of manufacturing slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS).

“The versatility of SLIPS, their robustness and unique ability to self-heal, makes it possible to design these surfaces for use almost anywhere, even under extreme temperature and pressure conditions,” says Aizenberg. “It potentially opens up applications in harsh environments, such as polar or deep-sea exploration, where no satisfactory solutions exist at present.”

   

Tagged categories: Antifoulants; Coatings technology; Protective coatings; Research

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Sherwin-Williams
Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings

With 4,000 distribution points and 3,700+ years of experience, Sherwin-Williams delivers the products, support and expertise you need, right where you need it.


Polyval Coatings
Polyflex® Polyurea Linings

Polyflex™ new Polyurea Geotextile Membrane System has been specifically engineered to protect the environment in containment applications.
www.polyflexlinings.com


Carboline Company
Fireproofing Solutions

Pyroclad® X1 Thermo-Lag® Pyrocrete® – protecting against hydrocarbon and jet fires, explosions, and cryogenic spills.


BASF
New resins from BASF will have metals loving water:

Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films basf.us/industrialcoatings
polyorders@basf.com
800-231-7868


Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at
thermioninc.com
877.884.3428


Wasser High-Tech Coatings Inc.
Wasser Coatings Protect

Wasser Coatings offer a complete range of Moisture Cure Urethane (NEPCOAT approved) systems in addition to Polyurea membranes and linings(NSF).
www.wassercoatings.com


International Paint LLC
New! Chartek

The next evolution in passive fire protection has arrived! Check out our new line of Chartek products.


Binks/DeVilbiss
Built for Tough Jobs

From Epoxies to Urethanes to other high solid coatings, the new Binks Airless 75 delivers a great finish using an ergonomic design. Visit binks.com for more information.


SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
http://www.sspc.org/

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !


Jessup Manufacturing Company
More Traction for Extreme Marine Conditions

Jessup Safety Track® 3800 Military Grade peel-and-stick non-skid tapes and treads provide extra slip resistance for decks. MIL-PRF-24467C Type XI, Black & Gray.

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com