Liquid repellency enhancement through flexible microstructures

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Science Advances  05 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 32, eaba9721
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba9721


Artificial liquid-repellent surfaces have attracted substantial scientific and industrial attention with a focus on creating functional topological features; however, the role of the underlying structures has been overlooked. Recent developments in micro-nanofabrication allow us now to construct a skin-muscle type system combining interfacial liquid repellence atop a mechanically functional structure. Specifically, we design surfaces comprising bioinspired, mushroom-like repelling heads and spring-like flexible supports, which are realized by three-dimensional direct laser lithography. The flexible supports elevate liquid repellency by resisting droplet impalement and reducing contact time. This, previously unknown, use of spring-like flexible supports to enhance liquid repellency provides an excellent level of control over droplet manipulation. Moreover, this extends repellent microstructure research from statics to dynamics and is envisioned to yield functionalities and possibilities by linking functional surfaces and mechanical metamaterials.

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