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

Industrial applications usually simply call for surfaces made to bring in or repel water. EU-funded researchers are devising new strategies to characterise and manufacture these surfaces and will make their conclusions public in a new Open Innovation Natural environment.


© PRUSSIA Artwork, #278535975 resource:stock.adobe.com 2020

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its ability to lose water and retain by itself clean up and dry. Can we master from biology and style and design elements with related attributes? That is the objective of the fourteen educational and industrial companions in the EU-funded OYSTER job who are checking out the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to order.

‘Most elements are both in make contact with with the ambiance or with water or other liquids,’ states job coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the College of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may possibly want to control how the water interacts with those people surfaces.’ A area that repels water, like the lotus leaf, is claimed to be hydrophobic. A area that attracts water is hydrophilic.

The impetus powering the job arrived from field. One organization was looking for new hydrophilic elements for smooth make contact with lenses though a different needed to make hydrophobic plane windows that lose water and are self-cleansing. ‘These have been two entirely various applications but the scientific trouble was the similar: 1st of all, how to control the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular solution

OYSTER is based on what Sebastiani phone calls a ‘triangle’ of 3 pillars: characterisation, manufacturing and modelling. First, the job is functioning with the European Materials Characterisation Council to style and design common strategies for measuring and characterising the wettability attributes of surfaces.

Then researchers will use superior manufacturing and coating technologies to make surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to produce designs that can predict what the wettability will be by switching the chemistry or morphology of the area. So, we are functioning on these 3 most important pillars and making an attempt to deliver these superior applications to genuine industrial items.’

Now at the halfway stage of the 4-year job, the researchers will soon total a sequence of protocols for measuring wettability and other area attributes. ‘We are by now tests samples from the industrial companions,’ Sebastiani states. ‘Next we will use the protocols to style and design and make new elements with managed wettability.’

Open innovation

Although the project’s quick objective is to generate methods for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, a different intention is for OYSTER to lead the way in producing what is recognized as an Open Innovation Natural environment, a website platform the place researchers and firms can share suggestions.

‘The results of the job will not be limited to the two most important applications and the firms concerned,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the facts and the understanding that we will generate during the job. Then we will be in a position to find other firms, other SMEs in certain, that may possibly be interested in these applications.’

Apps could be in any discipline the place a sound area interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most essential will be prosthetic implants these as knee and hip joints, meant to bond with the bordering tissue. ‘If you can control the wettability you can control quite finely how the cells expand on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open up day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and related tasks and, most importantly, to boost the Open Innovation Natural environment for field as a complete. ‘In foreseeable future, there will be areas for any form of industrial trouble,’ he states. ‘This could be an engine for solving complications coming from field in a a lot quicker, more effective way.’