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

Industrial purposes normally connect with for surfaces developed to appeal to or repel drinking water. EU-funded scientists are devising new strategies to characterise and manufacture these surfaces and will make their conclusions general public in a new Open up Innovation Environment.


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The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its capability to lose drinking water and keep by itself cleanse and dry. Can we learn from biology and style materials with very similar properties? That is the objective of the fourteen tutorial and industrial companions in the EU-funded OYSTER project who are discovering the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most materials are possibly in make contact with with the atmosphere or with drinking water or other liquids,’ suggests project coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the University of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may well want to management how the drinking water interacts with all those surfaces.’ A area that repels drinking water, like the lotus leaf, is explained to be hydrophobic. A area that attracts drinking water is hydrophilic.

The impetus powering the project arrived from sector. One particular company was seeking new hydrophilic materials for soft make contact with lenses although an additional wished to make hydrophobic plane windows that lose drinking water and are self-cleaning. ‘These ended up two fully distinctive purposes but the scientific issue was the similar: initial of all, how to management the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to evaluate the wettability.’

Triangular technique

OYSTER is primarily based on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of three pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. Initially, the project is performing with the European Elements Characterisation Council to style standard strategies for measuring and characterising the wettability properties of surfaces.

Then scientists will use sophisticated manufacturing and coating technologies to generate surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to create versions that can forecast what the wettability will be by changing the chemistry or morphology of the area. So, we are performing on these three most important pillars and attempting to provide these sophisticated purposes to real industrial items.’

Now at the midway point of the four-12 months project, the scientists will soon comprehensive a series of protocols for measuring wettability and other area properties. ‘We are currently tests samples from the industrial companions,’ Sebastiani suggests. ‘Next we will use the protocols to style and generate new materials with controlled wettability.’

Open up innovation

Although the project’s rapid objective is to deliver methods for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, an additional intention is for OYSTER to direct the way in creating what is acknowledged as an Open up Innovation Environment, a web platform where scientists and firms can share ideas.

‘The results of the project will not be limited to the two most important purposes and the firms concerned,’ Sebastiani describes. ‘We will share the data and the awareness that we will deliver throughout the project. Then we will be in a position to obtain other firms, other SMEs in specific, that may well be interested in these purposes.’

Programs could be in any industry where a good area interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most essential will be prosthetic implants these as knee and hip joints, meant to bond with the surrounding tissue. ‘If you can management the wettability you can management quite finely how the cells mature on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and related projects and, most importantly, to boost the Open up Innovation Environment for sector as a complete. ‘In long term, there will be regions for any kind of industrial issue,’ he suggests. ‘This could be an engine for fixing troubles coming from sector in a considerably a lot quicker, extra productive way.’