May 21, 2024


The business lovers

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

Industrial apps usually phone for surfaces made to bring in or repel drinking water. EU-funded researchers are devising new solutions to characterise and manufacture this kind of surfaces and will make their conclusions public in a new Open Innovation Ecosystem.


© PRUSSIA Artwork, #278535975 2020

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its ability to get rid of drinking water and keep alone clean and dry. Can we find out from biology and design components with related houses? That is the goal of the fourteen academic and industrial companions in the EU-funded OYSTER job who are exploring the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to purchase.

‘Most components are possibly in contact with the ambiance or with drinking water or other liquids,’ states job coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the University of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you could want to regulate how the drinking water interacts with individuals surfaces.’ A area that repels drinking water, like the lotus leaf, is explained to be hydrophobic. A area that draws in drinking water is hydrophilic.

The impetus at the rear of the job came from sector. One particular company was trying to find new hydrophilic components for tender contact lenses although a different preferred to make hydrophobic aircraft windows that get rid of drinking water and are self-cleaning. ‘These were being two fully diverse apps but the scientific trouble was the exact same: 1st of all, how to regulate the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular solution

OYSTER is centered on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of three pillars: characterisation, production and modelling. 1st, the job is doing work with the European Resources Characterisation Council to design regular solutions for measuring and characterising the wettability houses of surfaces.

Then researchers will use highly developed production and coating technologies to build surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to acquire designs that can predict what the wettability will be by altering the chemistry or morphology of the area. So, we are doing work on these three main pillars and hoping to deliver these highly developed apps to genuine industrial items.’

Now at the midway place of the 4-calendar year job, the researchers will shortly finish a series of protocols for measuring wettability and other area houses. ‘We are already screening samples from the industrial companions,’ Sebastiani states. ‘Next we will use the protocols to design and build new components with controlled wettability.’

Open innovation

Even though the project’s instant goal is to develop remedies for the healthcare and aeronautics sectors, a different goal is for OYSTER to guide the way in developing what is regarded as an Open Innovation Ecosystem, a internet system wherever researchers and firms can share concepts.

‘The results of the job will not be limited to the two main apps and the firms associated,’ Sebastiani explains. ‘We will share the knowledge and the expertise that we will develop throughout the job. Then we will be ready to locate other firms, other SMEs in individual, that could be fascinated in these apps.’

Purposes could be in any area wherever a strong area interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most vital will be prosthetic implants this kind of as knee and hip joints, meant to bond with the encompassing tissue. ‘If you can regulate the wettability you can regulate really finely how the cells grow on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open working day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and associated projects and, most importantly, to encourage the Open Innovation Ecosystem for sector as a full. ‘In foreseeable future, there will be parts for any sort of industrial trouble,’ he states. ‘This could be an motor for solving difficulties coming from sector in a substantially quicker, extra productive way.’