Industrial purposes generally contact for surfaces made to attract or repel water. EU-funded scientists are devising new strategies to characterise and manufacture these surfaces and will make their results public in a new Open Innovation Natural environment.


Image

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

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its capacity to lose water and maintain itself thoroughly clean and dry. Can we learn from biology and style materials with identical properties? That is the objective of the 14 academic and industrial associates in the EU-funded OYSTER venture who are exploring the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most materials are both in make contact with with the atmosphere or with water or other liquids,’ claims venture coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the University of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you might want to control how the water interacts with individuals surfaces.’ A floor that repels water, like the lotus leaf, is said to be hydrophobic. A floor that appeals to water is hydrophilic.

The impetus driving the venture came from field. A single company was seeking new hydrophilic materials for comfortable make contact with lenses although yet another preferred to make hydrophobic aircraft windows that lose water and are self-cleaning. ‘These were being two totally unique purposes but the scientific issue was the very same: to start with of all, how to control the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular tactic

OYSTER is based mostly on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of a few pillars: characterisation, production and modelling. First, the venture is performing with the European Elements Characterisation Council to style regular strategies for measuring and characterising the wettability properties of surfaces.

Then scientists will use innovative production and coating systems to make surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to acquire models that can predict what the wettability will be by modifying the chemistry or morphology of the floor. So, we are performing on these a few major pillars and striving to bring these innovative purposes to genuine industrial products and solutions.’

Now at the halfway stage of the 4-calendar year venture, the scientists will soon total a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other floor properties. ‘We are currently testing samples from the industrial associates,’ Sebastiani claims. ‘Next we will use the protocols to style and make new materials with managed wettability.’

Open innovation

Despite the fact that the project’s speedy objective is to make answers for the health care and aeronautics sectors, yet another purpose is for OYSTER to guide the way in developing what is recognized as an Open Innovation Natural environment, a website system where scientists and corporations can share ideas.

‘The outcomes of the venture will not be limited to the two major purposes and the corporations involved,’ Sebastiani describes. ‘We will share the knowledge and the know-how that we will make through the venture. Then we will be able to obtain other corporations, other SMEs in specific, that might be intrigued in these purposes.’

Purposes could be in any area where a sound floor interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most essential will be prosthetic implants these as knee and hip joints, supposed to bond with the bordering tissue. ‘If you can control the wettability you can control really finely how the cells mature on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and connected assignments and, most importantly, to market the Open Innovation Natural environment for field as a total. ‘In future, there will be parts for any variety of industrial issue,’ he claims. ‘This could be an engine for resolving issues coming from field in a substantially more rapidly, far more productive way.’