Industrial purposes frequently get in touch with for surfaces intended to entice or repel drinking water. EU-funded researchers are devising new techniques to characterise and manufacture these kinds of surfaces and will make their conclusions public in a new Open Innovation Ecosystem.


© PRUSSIA Art, #278535975 2020

The leaf of the lotus flower is famed for its potential to shed drinking water and continue to keep itself cleanse and dry. Can we study from biology and structure products with very similar qualities? That is the aim of the 14 educational and industrial associates in the EU-funded OYSTER project who are checking out the ‘wettability’ of surfaces and how they can be engineered to get.

‘Most products are both in contact with the environment or with drinking water or other liquids,’ says project coordinator Marco Sebastiani, from the College of Roma Tre in Italy. ‘So, you may want to manage how the drinking water interacts with people surfaces.’ A surface that repels drinking water, like the lotus leaf, is explained to be hydrophobic. A surface that draws in drinking water is hydrophilic.

The impetus at the rear of the project arrived from marketplace. One organization was seeking new hydrophilic products for delicate contact lenses even though another desired to make hydrophobic aircraft home windows that shed drinking water and are self-cleaning. ‘These have been two totally various purposes but the scientific trouble was the exact same: first of all, how to manage the wettability by engineering the surfaces and then how to measure the wettability.’

Triangular approach

OYSTER is dependent on what Sebastiani calls a ‘triangle’ of a few pillars: characterisation, production and modelling. 1st, the project is functioning with the European Products Characterisation Council to structure common techniques for measuring and characterising the wettability qualities of surfaces.

Then researchers will use state-of-the-art production and coating systems to produce surfaces of specified wettability. ‘We also want to develop types that can forecast what the wettability will be by modifying the chemistry or morphology of the surface. So, we are functioning on these a few principal pillars and striving to provide these state-of-the-art purposes to real industrial products and solutions.’

Now at the halfway point of the 4-yr project, the researchers will shortly entire a collection of protocols for measuring wettability and other surface qualities. ‘We are already screening samples from the industrial associates,’ Sebastiani says. ‘Next we will use the protocols to structure and produce new products with controlled wettability.’

Open innovation

Even though the project’s rapid aim is to deliver alternatives for the health care and aeronautics sectors, another intention is for OYSTER to guide the way in generating what is recognized as an Open Innovation Ecosystem, a website platform where by researchers and firms can share ideas.

‘The results of the project will not be restricted to the two principal purposes and the firms associated,’ Sebastiani clarifies. ‘We will share the details and the information that we will deliver in the course of the project. Then we will be able to discover other firms, other SMEs in certain, that may be intrigued in these purposes.’

Programs could be in any subject where by a solid surface interacts with a liquid. Sebastiani thinks the most crucial will be prosthetic implants these kinds of as knee and hip joints, meant to bond with the encompassing tissue. ‘If you can manage the wettability you can manage really finely how the cells expand on these surfaces.’

Sebastiani hosted an open up day in Brussels on 28 November to showcase OYSTER and associated jobs and, most importantly, to promote the Open Innovation Ecosystem for marketplace as a total. ‘In long run, there will be places for any sort of industrial trouble,’ he says. ‘This could be an engine for resolving problems coming from marketplace in a a great deal faster, much more effective way.’