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Interfacial materials with special wettability

  • Tak-Sing Wong (a1), Taolei Sun (a2), Lin Feng (a3) and Joanna Aizenberg (a4)

Various life forms in nature display a high level of adaptability to their environments through the use of sophisticated material interfaces. This is exemplified by numerous biological systems, such as the self-cleaning of lotus leaves, the water-walking abilities of water striders and spiders, the ultra-slipperiness of pitcher plants, the directional liquid adhesion of butterfly wings, and the water collection capabilities of beetles, spider webs, and cacti. The versatile interactions of these natural surfaces with fluids, or special wettability, are enabled by their unique micro/nanoscale surface structures and intrinsic material properties. Many of these biological designs and principles have inspired new classes of functional interfacial materials, which have remarkable potential to solve some of the engineering challenges for industrial and biomedical applications. In this article, we provide a snapshot of the state of the art of biologically inspired materials with special wettability, and discuss some promising future directions for the field.

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