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Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals

May 27, 2020
Technische Universität Dresden
Scientists have developed a self-cleaning metallic surface. Engineers structured an aluminum plate with a laser process in such a way that water droplets no longer adhere and dirt particles can be removed from the surface - completely without chemical cleaning agents or additional effort.

For several years, scientists at TU Dresden and Fraunhofer IWS have been developing functionalised surfaces by means of laser-based manufacturing processes. Now, they have created a periodic surface structure that is not only water and ice repellent, but also remove dirt particles solely by rolling water drops. In this context, they particularly focussed on the material aluminium. "This material is used in many industrial branches -- either in the automotive sector, aircraft construction or the food industry.

The use of aggressive cleaning chemicals is particularly critical in food industry, as we naturally do not want to bring these chemicals in contact with our food," emphasises Stephan Milles, PhD student at Technische Universität Dresden. In particular, the Dresden scientists studied the function of self-cleaning laser-structured aluminium. A special camera was used to analyse the self-cleaning effect of the aluminium surfaces and filmed the process at 12,500 frames per second. Thomas Kuntze, scientist in the Microtechnology Technology Field at Fraunhofer IWS, explains: "This way we can perfectly see how a water drop can remove the dirt from the aluminium surface. This method is also suitable for understanding other processes, such as laser cutting and welding or additive manufacturing."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Technische Universität Dresden. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Stephan Milles, Marcos Soldera, Thomas Kuntze, Andrés Fabián Lasagni. Characterization of self-cleaning properties on superhydrophobic aluminum surfaces fabricated by direct laser writing and direct laser interference patterning. Applied Surface Science, 2020; 525: 146518 DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2020.146518

Cite This Page:

Technische Universität Dresden. "Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2020. <>.
Technische Universität Dresden. (2020, May 27). Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 3, 2023 from
Technische Universität Dresden. "Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals." ScienceDaily. (accessed December 3, 2023).

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