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Micromachines 2017, 8(12), 366; doi:10.3390/mi8120366

Air Trapping Mechanism in Artificial Salvinia-Like Micro-Hairs Fabricated via Direct Laser Lithography

Center for Micro-BioRobotics @SSSA, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
Laboratory of Bio-Inspired and Graphene Nanomechanics, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, 38123 Trento, Italy
School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
Ket Labs, Edoardo Amaldi Foundation, Italian Space Agency, Via del Politecnico snc, Rome 00133, Italy
Department of Life Science and Medical Bioscience, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, 2-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, 169-8480 Tokyo, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 6 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Salvinia leaves represent an extraordinary example of how nature found a strategy for the long term retainment of air, and thus oxygen, on a surface, the so-called ‘Salvinia effect’, thanks to the peculiar three-dimensional and hierarchical shape of the hairs covering the leaves. Here, starting from the natural model, we have microfabricated hairs inspired by those present on the Salvinia molesta leaves, by means of direct laser lithography. Artificial hairs, like their natural counterpart, are composed of a stalk and a crown-like head, and have been reproduced in the microscale since this ensures, if using a proper design, an air-retaining behavior even if the bulk structural material is hydrophilic. We have investigated the capability of air retainment inside the heads of the hairs that can last up to 100 h, demonstrating the stability of the phenomenon. For a given dimension of the head, the greater the number of filaments, the greater the amount of air that can be trapped inside the heads since the increase in the number of solid–air interfaces able to pin the liquid phase. For this reason, such type of pattern could be used for the fabrication of surfaces for controlled gas retainment and gas release in liquid phases. The range of applications would be quite large, including industrial, medical, and biological fields. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomimetics; Salvinia; hierarchical structures; hydrophobic surface; air trapping; 3D laser lithography biomimetics; Salvinia; hierarchical structures; hydrophobic surface; air trapping; 3D laser lithography

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tricinci, O.; Terencio, T.; Pugno, N.M.; Greco, F.; Mazzolai, B.; Mattoli, V. Air Trapping Mechanism in Artificial Salvinia-Like Micro-Hairs Fabricated via Direct Laser Lithography. Micromachines 2017, 8, 366.

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