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

Industrial apps usually get in touch with for surfaces developed to catch the attention of or repel drinking water. EU-funded scientists are devising new techniques to characterise and manufacture these kinds of surfaces and will make their conclusions public in a new Open up Innovation Atmosphere.


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

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its ability to lose drinking water and hold alone cleanse and dry. Can we study from biology and structure resources with identical houses? That is the aim of the fourteen tutorial and industrial associates in the EU-funded OYSTER project who are discovering the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to purchase.

‘Most resources are both in speak to with the atmosphere or with drinking water or other liquids,’ states project coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the College of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may possibly want to management how the drinking water interacts with those surfaces.’ A surface that repels drinking water, like the lotus leaf, is claimed to be hydrophobic. A surface that attracts drinking water is hydrophilic.

The impetus behind the project came from sector. 1 company was searching for new hydrophilic resources for tender speak to lenses when an additional wanted to make hydrophobic aircraft home windows that lose drinking water and are self-cleaning. ‘These had been two wholly various apps but the scientific trouble was the exact same: 1st of all, how to management the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to evaluate the wettability.’

Triangular tactic

OYSTER is centered on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of a few pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. Initial, the project is doing work with the European Resources Characterisation Council to structure standard techniques for measuring and characterising the wettability houses of surfaces.

Then scientists will use highly developed manufacturing and coating technologies to make surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to produce styles that can predict what the wettability will be by shifting the chemistry or morphology of the surface. So, we are doing work on these a few primary pillars and seeking to deliver these highly developed apps to actual industrial goods.’

Now at the midway place of the four-year project, the scientists will shortly total a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other surface houses. ‘We are previously tests samples from the industrial associates,’ Sebastiani states. ‘Next we will use the protocols to structure and make new resources with managed wettability.’

Open up innovation

Whilst the project’s speedy aim is to develop answers for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, an additional goal is for OYSTER to lead the way in producing what is acknowledged as an Open up Innovation Atmosphere, a world-wide-web system wherever scientists and firms can share strategies.

‘The results of the project will not be restricted to the two primary apps and the firms involved,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the info and the know-how that we will develop all through the project. Then we will be capable to obtain other firms, other SMEs in specific, that may possibly be fascinated in these apps.’

Applications could be in any discipline wherever a strong surface interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most vital will be prosthetic implants these kinds of as knee and hip joints, supposed to bond with the bordering tissue. ‘If you can management the wettability you can management very finely how the cells improve on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open up working day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and connected jobs and, most importantly, to promote the Open up Innovation Atmosphere for sector as a entire. ‘In future, there will be places for any type of industrial trouble,’ he states. ‘This could be an motor for solving difficulties coming from sector in a much quicker, much more productive way.’