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

Industrial apps frequently call for surfaces made to bring in or repel h2o. EU-funded scientists are devising new solutions to characterise and manufacture these kinds of surfaces and will make their conclusions community in a new Open up Innovation Setting.


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The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its means to shed h2o and retain by itself clear and dry. Can we master from biology and layout supplies with identical properties? That is the goal of the 14 educational and industrial companions in the EU-funded OYSTER project who are exploring the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most supplies are both in call with the atmosphere or with h2o or other liquids,’ states project coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the College of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may perhaps want to manage how the h2o interacts with these surfaces.’ A surface area that repels h2o, like the lotus leaf, is reported to be hydrophobic. A surface area that attracts h2o is hydrophilic.

The impetus driving the project arrived from business. One firm was in search of new hydrophilic supplies for smooth call lenses while a further required to make hydrophobic aircraft windows that shed h2o and are self-cleaning. ‘These ended up two completely diverse apps but the scientific dilemma was the very same: first of all, how to manage the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular strategy

OYSTER is dependent on what Sebastiani phone calls a ‘triangle’ of three pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. Initial, the project is functioning with the European Components Characterisation Council to layout conventional solutions for measuring and characterising the wettability properties of surfaces.

Then scientists will use state-of-the-art manufacturing and coating systems to generate surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to produce types that can forecast what the wettability will be by shifting the chemistry or morphology of the surface area. So, we are functioning on these three most important pillars and seeking to bring these state-of-the-art apps to genuine industrial products.’

Now at the halfway position of the 4-year project, the scientists will shortly complete a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other surface area properties. ‘We are now screening samples from the industrial companions,’ Sebastiani states. ‘Next we will use the protocols to layout and generate new supplies with controlled wettability.’

Open up innovation

Though the project’s immediate goal is to develop remedies for the health care and aeronautics sectors, a further intention is for OYSTER to guide the way in building what is acknowledged as an Open up Innovation Setting, a internet platform the place scientists and corporations can share suggestions.

‘The outcomes of the project will not be limited to the two most important apps and the corporations included,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the data and the know-how that we will develop in the course of the project. Then we will be capable to uncover other corporations, other SMEs in particular, that may perhaps be interested in these apps.’

Purposes could be in any discipline the place a strong surface area interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most critical will be prosthetic implants these kinds of as knee and hip joints, supposed to bond with the surrounding tissue. ‘If you can manage the wettability you can manage incredibly finely how the cells increase on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open working day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and linked jobs and, most importantly, to advertise the Open up Innovation Setting for business as a full. ‘In upcoming, there will be locations for any form of industrial dilemma,’ he states. ‘This could be an engine for solving complications coming from business in a a lot a lot quicker, extra effective way.’

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