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Highly Floatable Superhydrophobic Metallic Assembly for Aquatic Applications

OPEN ACS applied materials & interfaces | 7 Nov 2019

Z Zhan, M ElKabbash, J Cheng, J Zhang, SC Singh and C Guo
Abstract
Water-repellent superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces promise nearly endless applications, from increased buoyancy to drag reduction, but their practical use is limited. This comes from the fact that a SH surface will start to lose its efficiency once it is forced into water or damaged by mechanical abrasion. Here, we circumvent these two most-challenging obstacles and demonstrate a highly floating multi-faced SH metallic assembly inspired by the diving bell spiders and fire ant assemblies. We study and optimize, both theoretically and experimentally, the floating properties of the design. The assembly shows an unprecedented floating ability; it can float back to surface even after being forced submerging under water for months. More strikingly, the assembly maintains its floating ability even after severe damage and piercing in stark contrast to conventional watercrafts and aquatic devices. The potential use of the SH floating metallic assembly ranges from floating devices and electronic equipment protection, to highly floatable ships and vessels.
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