Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Coating


Superoleophobic surfaces are of interest for anti-fouling, self-cleaning, anti-smudge, low-drag, anti-fog, and oil-water separation applications. Current bioinspired surfaces are of limited use due to a lack of mechanical durability. A so-called layer-by-layer approach, involving charged species with electrostatic interactions between layers, can provide the flexibility needed to improve adhesion to the substrate while providing a low surface tension coating at the air interface. In this work, a polyelectrolyte binder, SiO2 nanoparticles, and a fluorosurfactant are spray deposited separately to create a durable, superoleophobic coating. Polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (PDDA) polyelectrolyte was complexed with a fluorosurfactant layer (FL), which provides oil repellency while being hydrophilic. This oleophobic/superhydrophilic behavior was enhanced through the use of roughening with SiO2 particles resulting in a superoleophobic coating with hexadecane contact angles exceeding 155° and tilt angles of less than 4°. The coating is also superhydrophilic, which is desirable for oil-water separation applications. The durability of these coatings was examined through the use of micro- and macrowear experiments. These coatings currently display characteristics of transparency. Fabrication of these coatings via the layer-by-layer technique results in superoleophobic surfaces displaying improved durability compared to existing work where either the durability or the oil-repellency is compromised.

Concepts: Mechanical, Improve, Electric charge, Layer, PolyDADMAC, Surface, Wetting, Coating


The coating of thin films is applied in numerous fields and many methods are employed for the deposition of these films. Some coating techniques may deposit films at high speed; for example, ordinary printing paper is coated with micrometre-thick layers of clay at a speed of tens of meters per second. However, to coat nanometre thin films at high speed, vacuum techniques are typically required, which increases the complexity of the process. Here, we report a simple wet chemical method for the high-speed coating of films with thicknesses at the nanometre level. This soap-film coating technique is based on forcing a substrate through a soap film that contains nanomaterials. Molecules and nanomaterials can be deposited at a thickness ranging from less than a monolayer to several layers at speeds up to meters per second. We believe that the soap-film coating method is potentially important for industrial-scale nanotechnology.

Concepts: Thin film, Thin films, Deposit account, Speed, Speed of light, Miles per hour, Light, Coating


Since its discovery, the wetting transparency of graphene, the transmission of the substrate wetting property over graphene coating, has gained significant attention due to its versatility for potential applications. Yet, there have been debates on the interpretation and validity of the wetting transparency. Here, we present a theory taking two previously disregarded factors into account and elucidate the origin of the partial wetting transparency. We show that the liquid bulk modulus is crucial to accurately calculate the van der Waals interactions between the liquid and the surface, and that various wetting states on rough surfaces must be considered to understand a wide range of contact angle measurements that cannot be fitted with a theory considering the flat surface. In addition, we reveal that the wetting characteristic of the substrate almost vanishes when covered by any coating as thick as graphene double layers. Our findings reveal a more complete picture of the wetting transparency of graphene as well as other atomically thin coatings, and can be applied to study various surface engineering problems requiring wettability-tuning.

Concepts: Young's modulus, Surface, Surface tension, Contact angle, Wetting, Coating, Van der Waals force, Angle


The preparation of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) hollow fiber (HF) membranes has been carried out by dry-jet wet spinning. PAN HF membranes were coated with chitosan biopolymers 2 wt% by dip coating and further crosslinked by chemical reagents (Tri sodium polyphosphate). PAN HF (Virgin) and PAN/chitosan coated membrane were characterized by SEM and tested for water flux. Proteins Pepsin, Albumin, and Clay of 1000 ppm concentration were tested for separation efficiency. In addition, bacterial species Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis were tested for fouling control efficiency and found out that PAN/chitosan membranes were quite superior to virgin PAN fibers. The adhesion of bacterial cells on the surface of the hollow fiber membranes assessed through alcian blue staining and SEM analysis. It was observed that PAN/chitosan membranes (310A and 310C) possessed best antibacterial activities (based on SEM results), qualifying them as a very promising candidates for anti-biofouling coatings.

Concepts: Polymer, Reagent, Coatings, Sodium triphosphate, Alcian Blue, Coating, Bacteria, Cell membrane


Hydrogel nanomaterials, especially those that are of non-human and non-animal origins, have great potential in biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences due to their versatility and inherent soft-tissue like properties. With the ability to simulate native tissue function, hydrogels are potentially well suited for cellular therapy applications. In this study, we have fabricated nanofibrillar cellulose-alginate (NFCA) suture coatings as biomedical devices to help overcome some of the limitations related to cellular therapy, such as low cell survivability and distribution out of target tissue. The addition of sodium alginate 8% (w/v) increased the NFCA hydrogel viscosity, storage and loss moduli by slightly under one order of magnitude, thus contributing significantly to coating strength. Confocal microscopy showed nearly 100% cell viability throughout the 2-week incubation period within and on the surface of the coating. Additionally, typical morphologies in the dual cell culture of spheroid forming HepG2 and monolayer type SK-HEP-1 were observed. Twelve out of 14 NFCA coated surgical sutures remained intact during the suturing operation with various mice and rat tissue; however, partial peeling off was observed in 2 of the coated sutures. We conclude that NFCA suture coatings could perform as cell-carrier systems for cellular based therapy and post-surgical treatment.

Concepts: Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, Catgut suture, Surgical staple, Coatings, Coating, Surgical suture


Smells are known to be composed of thousands of chemicals with various concentrations, and thus, the extraction of specific information from such a complex system is still challenging. Herein, we report for the first time that the nanomechanical sensing combined with machine learning realizes the specific information extraction, e.g. alcohol content quantification as a proof-of-concept, from the smells of liquors. A newly developed nanomechanical sensor platform, a Membrane-type Surface stress Sensor (MSS), was utilized. Each MSS channel was coated with functional nanoparticles, covering diverse analytes. The smells of 35 liquid samples including water, teas, liquors, and water/EtOH mixtures were measured using the functionalized MSS array. We selected characteristic features from the measured responses and kernel ridge regression was used to predict the alcohol content of the samples, resulting in successful alcohol content quantification. Moreover, the present approach provided a guideline to improve the quantification accuracy; hydrophobic coating materials worked more effectively than hydrophilic ones. On the basis of the guideline, we experimentally demonstrated that additional materials, such as hydrophobic polymers, led to much better prediction accuracy. The applicability of this data-driven nanomechanical sensing is not limited to the alcohol content quantification but to various fields including food, security, environment, and medicine.

Concepts: Prediction, Coating, Chemical properties, Brandy, Alcoholic beverage, Chemical substance, Materials science, Scientific method


Analysis of a radioactive, coated concrete core from the decommissioned, spent nuclear fuel cooling pond at the Hunterston-A nuclear site (UK) has provided a unique opportunity to study radionuclides within a real-world system. The core, obtained from a dividing wall and sampled at the fill level of the pond, exhibited radioactivity (dominantly (137)Cs and (90)Sr) heterogeneously distributed across both painted faces. Chemical analysis of the core was undertaken using microfocus spectroscopy at Diamond Light Source, UK. Mapping of Sr across the surface coatings using microfocus X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) combined with X-ray absorption spectroscopy showed that Sr was bound to TiO2 particles in the paint layers, suggesting an association between TiO2 and radiostrontium. Stable Sr and Cs sorption experiments using concrete coupons were also undertaken to assess their interactions with the bulk concrete in case of a breach in the coating layers. μXRF and scanning electron microscopy showed that Sr was immobilized by the cement phases, whilst at the elevated experimental concentrations, Cs was associated with clay minerals in the aggregates. This study provides a crucial insight into poorly understood infrastructural contamination in complex systems and is directly applicable to the UK’s nuclear decommissioning efforts.

Concepts: Nuclear technology, Coating, Electromagnetic radiation, Absorption spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Spectroscopy, Nuclear decommissioning, Electron


Flame-retardant and self-healing superhydrophobic coatings are fabricated on cotton fabrics by a convenient solution dipping method, which involves the sequential deposition of a trilayer of branched poly(ethylenimine) (bPEI), ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and fluorinated-decyl polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane (F-POSS). When directly exposed to flame, such a trilayer coating generates a porous char layer because of its intumescent effect, successfully endowing the coated fabric with self-extinguishing property. Meanwhile, the preserved F-POSS in cotton fabrics and APP/bPEI coating produce a superhydrohobic surface with self-healing function. The coating can repetitively and autonomically restore superhydrophobicity once the superhydrophobicity is damaged. The resultant cotton fabrics, which are flame resistant, waterproof and self-cleaning, can be readily cleaned with simple water rinsing. Thus, the integration of self-healing superhydrophobicity with flame-retardancy provides a practical way to solve the problem regarding the washing durability of the flame-retardant coatings. The flame-retardant and superhydrophobic fabrics can endure more than 1000 cycles of abrasion under a pressure of 44.8 kPa without losing its flame-retardancy and self-healing superhydrophobicity, showing potential applications as multifunctional advanced textiles.

Concepts: Brominated flame retardant, Geology, Tent, Coatings, Coating, Yarn, Cotton, Textile


In an attempt to develop biodegradable, mechanically strong, biocompatible, and conductive nerve guidance conduits, pure magnesium (Mg) was used as the biodegradable substrate material to provide strength while the conductive polymer, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) was used as a conductive coating material to control Mg degradation and improve cytocompatibility of Mg substrates. This study explored a series of electrochemical deposition conditions to produce a uniform, consistent PEDOT coating on large three-dimensional Mg samples. A concentration of 1 M 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene in ionic liquid was sufficient for coating Mg samples with a size of 5 × 5 × 0.25 mm. Both cyclic voltammetry (CV) and chronoamperometry coating methods produced adequate coverage and uniform PEDOT coating. Low-cost stainless steel and copper electrodes can be used to deposit PEDOT coatings as effectively as platinum and silver/silver chloride electrodes. Five cycles of CV with the potential ranging from -0.5 to 2.0 V for 200 s per cycle were used to produce consistent coatings for further evaluation. Scanning electron micrographs showed the micro-porous structure of PEDOT coatings. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed the peaks of sulfur, carbon, and oxygen, indicating sufficient PEDOT coating. Adhesion strength of the coating was measured using the tape test following the ASTM-D 3359 standard. The adhesion strength of PEDOT coating was within the classifications of 3B to 4B. Tafel tests of the PEDOT coated Mg showed a corrosion current (I(CORR)) of 6.14 × 10(-5) A as compared with I(CORR) of 9.08 × 10(-4) A for non-coated Mg. The calculated corrosion rate for the PEDOT coated Mg was 2.64 mm/year, much slower than 38.98 mm/year for the non-coated Mg.

Concepts: Micrograph, Aluminium, Scanning electron microscope, Voltammetry, Magnesium, Coating, Corrosion, Electrochemistry


The aim of this study is to prepare whey protein (WP)-based microparticles (MP) using the Encapsulator(®) device. The viscosity dependence of the extrusion device required to mix WP with a food-grade and less viscous polymer. Mixed WP/ALG MP were obtained with the optimized WP/alginate (ALG) ratio (62/38). These particles were further coated with WP or ALG using non-traumatic and solvent-free coating process developed in this study. Size and morphology of coated and uncoated MP were determined. Then, swelling and degradation (WP release) of formulations were investigated in pH 1.2 and 7.5 buffers and in simulated gastric and intestinal fluids (SGF, SIF) and compared to pure ALG and pure WP particle behaviours. At pH 1.2, pure ALG shrank and pure WP swelled, whereas the sizes of mixed WP/ALG matrix were stable. In SGF, WP/ALG MP resisted to pepsin degradation compare to pure WP particles due to ALG shrinkage which limited pepsin diffusion within particles. Coating addition with WP or ALG slowed down pepsin degradation. At pH 7.5, WP/ALG particles were rapidly degraded due to ALG sensitivity but the addition of a WP coating limited effectively the swelling and the degradation of MP. In SIF, pancreatin accelerated MP degradation but ALG-coated MP exhibited interesting robustness. These results confirmed the interest and the feasibility to produce coated WP-based MP which could be a potential orally controlled release drug delivery system.

Concepts: Whey protein, Particle, Milk, Non-Newtonian fluid, Fluid, Formulations, Viscosity, Coating