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Molecules 2014, 19(9), 13614-13630; doi:10.3390/molecules190913614

Natural Insect and Plant Micro-/Nanostructsured Surfaces: An Excellent Selection of Valuable Templates with Superhydrophobic and Self-Cleaning Properties

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
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Received: 15 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 2 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Diversity)
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Abstract

Insects and plants are two types of organisms that are widely separated on the evolutionary tree; for example, plants are mostly phototrophic organisms whilst insects are heterotrophic organisms. In order to cope with environmental stresses, their surfaces have developed cuticular layers that consist of highly sophisticated structures. These structures serve a number of purposes, and impart useful properties to these surfaces. These two groups of organisms are the only ones identified thus far that possess truly superhydrophobic and self-cleaning properties. These properties result from their micro- and nano-scale structures, comprised of three-dimensional wax formations. This review analyzes the surface topologies and surface chemistry of insects and plants in order to identify the features common to both organisms, with particular reference to their superhydrophobic and self-cleaning properties. This information will be valuable when determining the potential application of these surfaces in the design and manufacture of superhydrophobic and self-cleaning devices, including those that can be used in the manufacture of biomedical implants. View Full-Text
Keywords: superhydrophobicity; insects; plants; cuticle; nanostructure superhydrophobicity; insects; plants; cuticle; nanostructure
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nguyen, S.H.; Webb, H.K.; Mahon, P.J.; Crawford, R.J.; Ivanova, E.P. Natural Insect and Plant Micro-/Nanostructsured Surfaces: An Excellent Selection of Valuable Templates with Superhydrophobic and Self-Cleaning Properties. Molecules 2014, 19, 13614-13630.

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