Scientists are now designing waterproof surfaces that will fight off the spread of bacteria, and these surfaces will be based on nature. With concerns about how bacteria and viruses spread on surfaces, scientists are copying nature’s designs to create surfaces that will fight off moisture.
When these surfaces are created, these microbes find it stay on such surfaces. These bacteria-repellent surfaces are known as hydrophobic and scientists are looking for means to copy natural materials gotten from animals.
A team of scientists at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has discovered a cheaper, faster way of creating these surfaces.
One popular example of hydrophobic material is the lotus leaf, however, scientists have also discovered that cicada wings have properties that make them water repellent. An entomology professor at the University, Marianne Alleyne, co-led a recent study on ways to copy the same surface structure quickly and cheaply.
Alleyne and her team members presented a version of a fabrication process known as nanoimprinting lithography. The team created a template for copying Neotibicen pruinosus’s wing structure. Neotibicen pruinosus is an annual cicada discovered in the United States’ central region.
We chose to work with wings of this species of cicada because our past work demonstrates how the complex nanostructures on their wings provide an outstanding ability to repel water.
That is a highly desirable property that will be useful in many materials engineering applications, from aircraft wings to medical equipment.Alleyne
The new process adopted by the team involves utilizing cheaper materials such as commercial nail polish. This is a better and cheaper alternative. This process also prevents the higher temperatures that could be harmful to the natural samples utilized by the past teams.