SLIPS inspired by Nepenthes

Researchers have presented biomimetic slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) fabricated by porous fluorinated polyurethane films for anti-icing applications.

A pitcher plant as a symbol image.
The study took the characteristics of pitcher plants as a model.  Image source: Stevebidmead - Pixabay (symbol image).

By simulating Nepenthes mirabilis, porous polyurethane (PU) films were prepared in a new study through a phase inversion method to fabricate slippery liquid infused porous surface (SLIPS). When the volume fraction of dimethylformamide (DMF) in coagulation bath is 20 % and the immersion time is 2 min, the porous PU films exhibit outstanding regularity and permeability. Subsequently, the porous PU films are fluorinated with 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorodecyltriethoxysilane to prepare fluorinated polyurethanefilms (FPU), and three kinds of SLIPS with lubricating and anti-icing performance were obtained by further injecting three kinds of low surface tension lubricating liquids, namely, (polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), ethyl oleate (EO) and perfluoropolyether (PFPE)) into FPU.

Low ice adhesion strengths

Among them, EO infusion surface showed better hydrophobic ability, while PDMS and PFPE infusion surfaces demonstrate an excellent oil-holding ability and have long service life. All three kinds of SLIPS exhibit delayed freezing properties and low ice adhesion strengths (less than 20 kPa). Particularly, the PFPE infusion surface has the lowest ice adhesion strength (9.9 kPa), presenting a better anti-icing performance than that of hydrophobic surface. The low ice adhesion strength is retained after 6 freezing/thawing cycles, confirming the excellent anti-icing stability.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 179, June 2023.

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