Home appliances are looking for new properties which will help the user:
Controlling the wettability, which is the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface, can help to achieve those properties. Nature is an unlimited source of functional surfaces with controlled wettability properties. For example the lotus leaves (fig.1) exhibit amazing water- repellent properties leading to the self-cleaning effect. The micro-sized hairs present on the legs of the water-strider allow him to float on water (fig2). Scientists have been studied those examples for decades in order to replicate them in the manufactured products, considering both the Chemical and the Physical modification of the materials’ surfaces. The scientific community agrees that the wettability of a surface depends strongly on the surface roughness.
The ENSUR4LIFE project focuses in on the physical surface modification at the micro-/nano-scale in order to change the surface roughness. The benefits of the physical modification versus other alternative as chemical coatings or doping bulk materials are:
Innovative and sustained research is needed to achieve the required wettability properties on home appliances. In fact the challenges of the ENSUR4LIFE project are:
In order to overpass those challenges the ENSUR4LIFE project combines theory, computer simulation and experimental research. Its promising results could impact the industry, not only home appliances sector, but also automotive (self-cleaning of windshields), aeronautic (water condensation control in planes), surgery (anti-bacterial properties), etc.