Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Self-cleaning silicone gel insect wings

Date:
November 15, 2009
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Researchers are flying the idea that insect wings could act as a model for making self-cleaning, frictionless, and superhydrophobic materials.

Researchers in Australia and the UK are flying the idea that insect wings could act as a model for making self-cleaning, frictionless, and superhydrophobic materials. They discuss the latest developments in their laboratories in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing.

Related Articles


Insects are incredible nanotechnologists. The surfaces of many insect wings have evolved properties materials scientists only dream of for their creations. For instance, some wings are superhydrophobic, due to a clever combination of natural chemistry and their detailed structure at the nanoscopic scale. This means that the wing cannot become wet, the tiniest droplet of water is instantly repelled. Likewise, other insect wing surfaces are almost frictionless, so that any tiny dust particles that might stick are sloughed away with minimal force.

Now, Gregory Watson of the James Cook University, in Townsville, Queensland, working with colleagues there and at Griffith University, and the universities of Queensland, and Oxford, are hoping to mimic these properties by using the surface of insect wings as a template for producing plastics, or polymeric, materials with novel surface properties.

If they are successful, they might then develop self-cleaning, water-resistant, and friction-free coatings for a wide range of machine components, construction materials, and other applications, including nano- and micro-electromechanical systems (NEMS and MEMS) and lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostics and environmental sensing.

The team has carried out atomic force microscopy analysis of the surface of insect wings in order to determine the forces with which fine dust particles stick, or rather don't stick to the wing. That work confirms that only very small forces, just a few billionths of a Newton (2 to 20 nanonewtons) are needed to shed nanoscopic dust particles. 10 Newtons is the approximate force exerted by a 1 kg bag of sugar sitting on a kitchen work surface because of gravity. 2 nN is equivalent to the downward force of 100th imposed by a single grain of sugar.

"Many of the surfaces demonstrate superhydrophobic properties and will not only reduce the effects of contact with surfaces but also promote a self-cleaning function for removing foreign bodies," the team explains.

With that data in hand, they then used wing membrane as a "natural template" to cast a polymer surface and so duplicate the surface structure of the wing in PDMS, polydimethylsiloxane, the same type of silicone gel used in breast implants. One of the advantages of this approach is that no prior "design" of the surface of the material is needed and so the team can exploit the enormous diversity of surface types from different insects and so produce materials with specific characteristics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Micro and nanostructures found on insect wings - designs for minimising adhesion and friction. Int. J. Nanomanufacturing, 2010, 5, 112-128

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Self-cleaning silicone gel insect wings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111259.htm>.
Inderscience. (2009, November 15). Self-cleaning silicone gel insect wings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111259.htm
Inderscience. "Self-cleaning silicone gel insect wings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111111259.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

Buzz60 (Jan. 28, 2015) A team of college students design and build a pair of goggles that will obscure any corporate branding from your field of vision. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) A new video recording method that amplifies seemingly invisible motion could lead to a touch-free vital signs monitor, and offer a new tool for engineers to gauge stresses on bridges and tunnels in real time. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing's Profit Soars

Boeing's Profit Soars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Boeing delivered more commercial planes, especially 737s and 787s, fueling profit. But it issued a mixed outlook. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Replacements for Foxconn's Workers

Robot Replacements for Foxconn's Workers

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry is looking to automation to keep productivity up without the rising costs of human labor. Meg Teckman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins