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

Industrial programs frequently simply call for surfaces built to attract or repel drinking water. EU-funded

Industrial programs frequently simply call for surfaces built to attract or repel drinking water. EU-funded scientists are devising new methods to characterise and manufacture this sort of surfaces and will make their conclusions public in a new Open up Innovation Ecosystem.

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

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its potential to shed drinking water and continue to keep itself cleanse and dry. Can we study from biology and design and style resources with similar homes? That is the goal of the fourteen educational and industrial associates in the EU-funded OYSTER challenge who are discovering the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to purchase.

‘Most resources are possibly in call with the environment or with drinking water or other liquids,’ suggests challenge coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the University of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may perhaps want to manage how the drinking water interacts with people surfaces.’ A surface that repels drinking water, like the lotus leaf, is reported to be hydrophobic. A surface that appeals to drinking water is hydrophilic.

The impetus driving the challenge arrived from business. One enterprise was searching for new hydrophilic resources for smooth call lenses although a different desired to make hydrophobic aircraft windows that shed drinking water and are self-cleaning. ‘These had been two completely various programs but the scientific issue was the identical: 1st of all, how to manage the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular approach

OYSTER is centered on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of 3 pillars: characterisation, producing and modelling. Very first, the challenge is functioning with the European Products Characterisation Council to design and style typical methods for measuring and characterising the wettability homes of surfaces.

Then scientists will use sophisticated producing and coating technologies to produce surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to create models that can forecast what the wettability will be by changing the chemistry or morphology of the surface. So, we are functioning on these 3 most important pillars and seeking to convey these sophisticated programs to actual industrial products.’

Now at the midway point of the 4-12 months challenge, the scientists will shortly complete a series of protocols for measuring wettability and other surface homes. ‘We are now testing samples from the industrial associates,’ Sebastiani suggests. ‘Next we will use the protocols to design and style and produce new resources with managed wettability.’

Open up innovation

Whilst the project’s instant goal is to develop remedies for the health care and aeronautics sectors, a different aim is for OYSTER to direct the way in making what is recognized as an Open up Innovation Ecosystem, a web system exactly where scientists and corporations can share thoughts.

‘The outcomes of the challenge will not be limited to the two most important programs and the corporations concerned,’ Sebastiani clarifies. ‘We will share the knowledge and the expertise that we will develop in the course of the challenge. Then we will be equipped to find other corporations, other SMEs in unique, that may perhaps be fascinated in these programs.’

Applications could be in any field exactly where a reliable surface interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most essential will be prosthetic implants this sort of as knee and hip joints, meant to bond with the bordering tissue. ‘If you can manage the wettability you can manage incredibly finely how the cells develop on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open working day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and relevant projects and, most importantly, to endorse the Open up Innovation Ecosystem for business as a entire. ‘In foreseeable future, there will be parts for any form of industrial issue,’ he suggests. ‘This could be an engine for resolving problems coming from business in a substantially a lot quicker, much more effective way.’