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 November 27, 2014 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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