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

Concept: Surface


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


Creating surfaces capable of resisting liquid-mediated adhesion is extremely difficult due to the strong capillary forces that exist between surfaces. Land snails use this to adhere to and traverse across almost any type of solid surface of any orientation (horizontal, vertical or inverted), texture (smooth, rough or granular) or wetting property (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) via a layer of mucus. However, the wetting properties that enable snails to generate strong temporary attachment and the effectiveness of this adhesive locomotion on modern super-slippy superhydrophobic surfaces are unclear. Here we report that snail adhesion overcomes a wide range of these microscale and nanoscale topographically structured non-stick surfaces. For the one surface which we found to be snail resistant, we show that the effect is correlated with the wetting response of the surface to a weak surfactant. Our results elucidate some critical wetting factors for the design of anti-adhesive and bio-adhesion resistant surfaces.

Concepts: Liquid, Wetting, Surface tension, Surface, Adhesion, Snail, Land snail


Friction characteristics with respect to surface topographic orientation were investigated using surfaces of different materials and fabricated with grooves of different scales. Scratching friction tests were conducted using a nano-indentation-scratching system with the tip motion parallel or perpendicular to the groove orientation. Similar friction anisotropy trends were observed for all the surfaces studied, which are (1) under a light load and for surfaces with narrow grooves, the tip motion parallel to the grooves offers higher friction coefficients than does that perpendicular to them, (2) otherwise, equal or lower friction coefficients are found under this motion. The influences of groove size relative to the diameter of the mating tip (as a representative asperity), surface contact stiffness, contact area, and the characteristic stiction length are discussed. The appearance of this friction anisotropy is independent of material; however, the boundary and the point of trend transition depend on material properties.

Concepts: Force, Materials science, Orientation, Classical mechanics, Surface, Young's modulus, Friction, Tribology


Advancing and receding contact angles of water, formamide and diiodomethane were measured on 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) layers deposited on three different solid supports-glass, mica and poly(methyl methacrylate). Up to five statistical monolayers were deposited on the surfaces by spreading DPPC solution. It was found that even on five statistical DPPC monolayers, the hysteresis of a given liquid depends on the kind of solid support. Also on the same solid support the contact angle hysteresis is different for each probe liquid used. The AFM images show that the heights of roughness of the DPPC films cannot be the primary cause of the observed hysteresis because the heights are too small to cause the observed hystereses. It is believed that the hysteresis is due to the liquid film present right behind the three-phase solid surface/liquid drop/gas (vapour) contact line and the presence of Derjaguin pressure. The value of contact angle hysteresis depends on both the solid surface and liquid properties as well as on intermolecular interactions between them.

Concepts: Water, Liquid, Surface tension, Gas, Surface, Angle, Hysteresis, Contact angle


This study explores how contact angle hysteresis and titling angle relate with stickiness on superhydrophobic surfaces. The result indicates that contact angle hysteresis could not be mentioned as a proper factor to evaluate the surface stickiness. By analyzing the system pinning force of droplet placed on a titled surface, we concluded that both solid fraction and surface geometric factor are the critical factors determining the surface stickiness.

Concepts: Surface, Angle, Hysteresis, Differential geometry, Contact angle, Analytic geometry, Division, Fraction


Issues of surfaces, e.g., inspired from beetle’s back, spider silk, cactus stem, etc., become the active area of research on designing novel materials in need of human beings to acquire fresh water resource from air. However, the design of materials on surface structure is little achieved on controlling of micro-scale drop transport in a long distance. Here, we report the ability of micro-drop transport in a long distance on a bioinspired Fibers with Gradient Spindle-knots (BFGS), which are fabricated by tilt angle dip-coating method. The micro-drop of ~0.25 μL transports in distance of ~5.00 mm, with velocity of 0.10-0.22 m s(-1) on BFGS. It is attributed to the multi-level cooperation of the release energy of drop coalescence along the gradient spindle-knots, in addition to capillary adhesion force and continuous difference of Laplace pressure, accordingly, water drops are driven to move fast directionally in a long distance on BFGS.

Concepts: Human, Water, Addition, Transport, Surface, Water resources, Silk, Spider silk


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


The surface topography of implant fixture is an important factor affecting the osseointegration. We herein demonstrated the effects of surface microtopography of titanium disks on proliferation and differentiation of osteoblast-like cells isolated from rat calvariae. Titanium disks with machine surface (MS), rough surface (R1) and rough surface combined with small cavities (R2) were used in an in vitro culture system. Rough surfaces (R1 and R2 disks) induced stronger osteoblast proliferation and differentiation (BGP and sclerostin mRNA expressions and calcium content) than the smooth surface (MS disk). Furthermore, surface microtopography of R2 disk, which was rough with small cavities, more strongly induced cell proliferation and mineralized bone matrix production than R1 disk. Our results suggest that surface microtopography influences osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. R2 disk, which is rough with small cavities, may be used in implant fixtures to increase osseointegration.

Concepts: DNA, Bone, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Dental implant, Surface, Osseointegration, Differential geometry


The coffee-ring effect, ubiquitously present in the drying process of aqueous droplets, impedes the performance of a myriad of applications involving precipitation of particle suspensions in evaporating liquids on solid surfaces, such as liquid biopsy combinational analysis, microarray fabrication, and ink-jet printing, to name a few. We invented the methodology of laser-induced differential evaporation to remove the coffee-ring effect. Without any additives to the liquid or any morphology modifications of the solid surface the liquid rests on, we have eliminated the coffee-ring effect by engineering the liquid evaporation profile with a CO2laser irradiating the apex of the droplets. The method of laser-induced differential evaporation transitions particle deposition patterns from coffee-ring patterns to central-peak patterns, bringing all particles (e.g. fluorescent double strand DNAs) in the droplet to a designated area of 100 μm diameter without leaving any stains outside. The technique also moves the drying process from the constant contact radius (CCR) mode to the constant contact angle (CCA) mode. Physical mechanisms of this method were experimentally studied by internal flow tracking and surface evaporation flux mapping, and theoretically investigated by development of an analytical model.

Concepts: Water, Liquid, Surface tension, Drop, Drying, Surface, Evaporation, Liquids


Environmental disinfection has become the new frontier in the ongoing battle to reduce the risk of health care-associated infections. Evidence demonstrating the persistent contamination of environmental surfaces despite traditional cleaning and disinfection methods has led to the widespread acceptance that there is both a need for reassessing traditional cleaning protocols and for using secondary disinfection technologies. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) disinfection is one type of no-touch technology shown to be a successful adjunct to manual cleaning in reducing environmental bioburden. The dilemma for the infection preventionist, however, is how to choose the system best suited for their facility among the many UV-C surface disinfection delivery systems available and how to build a case for acquisition to present to the hospital administration/C-suite. This article proposes an approach to these dilemmas based in part on the experience of 2 health care networks.

Concepts: Present, Health care, Health insurance, Infection, Surface, Hygiene, Dilemma, New Frontier