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

Industrial purposes generally call for surfaces designed to catch the attention of or repel h2o. EU-funded scientists are devising new procedures to characterise and manufacture such surfaces and will make their results public in a new Open Innovation Surroundings.


© PRUSSIA Art, #278535975 source:inventory.adobe.com 2020

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its ability to shed h2o and hold by itself clear and dry. Can we learn from biology and layout products with equivalent houses? That is the objective of the 14 academic and industrial partners in the EU-funded OYSTER task who are discovering the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most products are both in speak to with the atmosphere or with h2o or other liquids,’ claims task coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the University of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may perhaps want to control how the h2o interacts with all those surfaces.’ A floor that repels h2o, like the lotus leaf, is said to be hydrophobic. A floor that draws in h2o is hydrophilic.

The impetus behind the task arrived from market. One particular company was seeking new hydrophilic products for delicate speak to lenses though a different required to make hydrophobic plane home windows that shed h2o and are self-cleansing. ‘These ended up two entirely different purposes but the scientific challenge was the identical: initial of all, how to control the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to evaluate the wettability.’

Triangular strategy

OYSTER is primarily based on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of three pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. 1st, the task is working with the European Elements Characterisation Council to layout common procedures for measuring and characterising the wettability houses of surfaces.

Then scientists will use state-of-the-art manufacturing and coating technologies to develop surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to build styles that can predict what the wettability will be by changing the chemistry or morphology of the floor. So, we are working on these three main pillars and making an attempt to deliver these state-of-the-art purposes to true industrial goods.’

Now at the halfway level of the 4-calendar year task, the scientists will shortly total a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other floor houses. ‘We are currently tests samples from the industrial partners,’ Sebastiani claims. ‘Next we will use the protocols to layout and develop new products with controlled wettability.’

Open innovation

Despite the fact that the project’s instant objective is to generate remedies for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, a different purpose is for OYSTER to direct the way in creating what is recognized as an Open Innovation Surroundings, a internet platform where scientists and businesses can share concepts.

‘The outcomes of the task will not be restricted to the two main purposes and the businesses included,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the details and the knowledge that we will generate all through the task. Then we will be equipped to obtain other businesses, other SMEs in unique, that may perhaps be intrigued in these purposes.’

Applications could be in any industry where a stable floor interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most crucial will be prosthetic implants such as knee and hip joints, supposed to bond with the surrounding tissue. ‘If you can control the wettability you can control really finely how the cells mature on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open up working day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and connected assignments and, most importantly, to advertise the Open Innovation Surroundings for market as a total. ‘In foreseeable future, there will be regions for any variety of industrial challenge,’ he claims. ‘This could be an engine for solving troubles coming from market in a significantly more quickly, a lot more helpful way.’

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