Bioinspired Self-cleaning Materials

Chapter

Abstract

Among nature-inspired phenomena, the interactions of nanostructured surfaces with water are probably the most studied ones, as well as the most mimicked by science: geckos and spiders that can stick on smooth surfaces, beetles that collect fog in the desert, gerridae that walk on water—which is the reason why they are also called water striders, or pond skaters; all of these creatures owe their characterizing properties to the influence of surface nanostructuring on their affinity to water. Still, the most popular example of “nature-created” nanotechnology is the self-cleaning one, given by the onset of either superhydrophilicity, superhydrophobicity, or superoleophobicity. This is allowed by particular conditions of surface (photo)chemistry and structuring: the former is typical of TiO2-containing surfaces, while the latter is based on the formation of air layers between water and the surface nanometric protrusions, preventing the liquid from wetting it. This chapter is dedicated to the mechanisms underlying bioinspired self-cleaning and to the fields of application of these effects.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”Politecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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