'Sticky tape' for water droplets mimics rose petal

Sep 17, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new nanostructured material with applications that could include reducing condensation in airplane cabins and enabling certain medical tests without the need for high tech laboratories has been developed by researchers at the University of Sydney.

"The newly discovered material uses raspberry - so-called because of their appearance - which can trap tiny water droplets and prevent them from rolling off surfaces, even when that surface is turned upside down," said Dr Andrew Telford from the University's School of Chemistry and lead author of the research recently published in the journal, Chemistry of Materials.

The ability to immobilise very small droplets on a surface is, according to Dr Telford, a significant achievement with innumerable potential applications.

Raspberry particles mimic the of some rose petals.

"Water droplets bead up in a spherical shape on top of rose petals," Dr Telford said. "This is a sign the flower is highly ."

The reasons for this are complex and largely due to the special structure of the rose petal's surface. The research team replicated the rose petal by assembling raspberry particles in the lab using spherical micro- and nanoparticles.

The result is that water droplets bead up when placed on films of the raspberry particles and they're not able to drip down from it, even when turned upside down.

"Raspberry particle films can be described as for water droplets," Dr Telford said.

This could be useful in preventing issues in airplane cabins. It could also help rapidly process simple on free-standing droplets, with the potential for very high turnover of tests with inexpensive equipment and in remote areas.

Other exciting applications are under study: if we use this to control how a surface is structured we can influence how it will interact with water.

"This means we will be able to design a surface that does whatever you need it to do.

"We could also design a surface that stays dry forever, never needs cleaning or able to repel bacteria or even prevent mould and fungi growth.

"We could then tweak the same structure by changing its composition so it forces water to spread very quickly.

"This could be used on quick-dry walls and roofs which would also help to cool down houses.

"This can only be achieved with a very clear understanding of the science behind the chemical properties and construction of the surface," he said.

The discovery is also potentially viable commercially.

"Our team's discovery is the first that allows for the preparation of raspberry particles on an industrial scale and we are now in a position where we can prepare large quantities of these particles without the need to build special plants or equipment," Dr Telford said.

Explore further: How slippery are water-repellent surfaces? (w/ Video)

More information: pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cm4016386

Related Stories

'Bed of nails' material for clean surfaces

Sep 17, 2012

(Phys.org)—Scientists at the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology have developed a new material that is not only extremely water-repellent but also extremely oil-repellent. It contains ...

Explained: Hydrophobic and hydrophilic

Jul 16, 2013

Sometimes water spreads evenly when it hits a surface; sometimes it beads into tiny droplets. While people have noticed these differences since ancient times, a better understanding of these properties, and ...

Recommended for you

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

22 hours ago

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Apr 17, 2014

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...