Biomimetic materials decrease drag for liquids

Tinuku - An eco-friendly and coating-free strategy has been developed to make solid surfaces liquid-repellent which is crucial for the transportation of large quantities of liquids through pipes. Researchers have engineered nature-inspired surfaces that decrease frictional drag at the interface between liquid and pipe surface.

Piping networks are ubiquitous to many industrial processes ranging from the transport of crude and refined petroleum to irrigation and water desalination. However, frictional drag at the liquid-solid interface reduces the efficiency of these processes.

Tinuku Biomimetic materials decrease drag for liquids

Reported in the Penelitian, researchers developed micro-textured surfaces that do not require coatings to trap air when immersed in wetting liquids by imitating the omniphobic skins of springtails, or Collembola, which are insect-like organisms found in moist soils.

The team worked to carve arrays of microscopic cavities with mushroom-shaped edges on smooth silica surfaces. Unlike simple cylindrical cavities, which were filled in less than 0.1 seconds on immersion in the solvent hexadecane, the biomimetic cavities retained the trapped air beyond 10,000,000 seconds.

The researchers systematically compared the wetting behavior of circular, square, and hexagonal DRCs. They found that circular DRCs were the best at sustaining the trapped air. They also discovered that the vapor pressure of the liquids influences this entrapment.

Using these design principles, the team is exploring scalable approaches to generate mushroom-shaped cavities on to inexpensive materials, such as polyethylene terephthalate, for frictional drag reduction and desalination.