Environmental problems have always been closely related to all mankind. Although countries all over the world have paid more attention to environmental problems in recent years, and some environmental pollution problems have indeed been improved, the situation is still not optimistic. For example, the oil spill, which is a serious pollution to the environment, will do great harm to the environment once it leaks, and the subsequent pollution will last for several years.
“I think the reason why the plant surface is super hydrophobic is that it lives on the water surface and needs air to survive,” said researcher Yang Yang. “If it were not for the long-term evolution of this plant, the plant might be submerged in water and die.” At the microscopic level, the arrangement of leaf hair is similar to that of an egg beater or a whisk. The researchers used immersion surface area poly 3D printing (ISA 3D printing) to recreate the microstructure of the egg beater using plastic and carbon nanotubes, known as the Salvinia effect. The result is a highly hydrophobic and lipophilic or oil absorbing material. This combination can effectively separate oil and water. “We are trying to create a functional surface texture that separates oil from water,” said associate professor Yong Chen. Based on this, we modified the material surface by using 3D printing method, which helped us obtain some interesting surface characteristics. “
The research team hopes that eventually they can use 3D printing as a prototype to produce such materials on a large scale to separate oil and water in the ocean. At present, this method requires a large amount of electric field or mechanical pressure energy.
Salvinia effect can also be used in other applications, including medical applications. It can be used for droplet operation, in which the adhesion between liquid and robot arm can be adjusted accordingly and lead to the transfer of trace liquid without loss. The technology can be used in a variety of different applications, including droplet based microreactor, nanoparticle synthesis, tissue engineering, drug discovery and drug delivery monitoring.