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ramé-hart instrument co. May 2015 Newsletter

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Beyond Superhydrophobicity
The development of new technologies and methods for fabricating superhydrophobic surfaces has been widely embraced by the surface science research community in recent years. However, as making a superhydrophobic surface has become easier and more widespread, the requirements for these surfaces have become more demanding. This month we examine some additional properties and requirements for the next generation of non-wetting surfaces.

Omniphobic It's not enough to repel water. Researchers at the University of Michigan1 (with the help of a ramé-hart instrument) are working on methods for making superomniphobic surfaces that result in high contact angles (>150°) not only for high surface tension liquids like water but for low surface tension liquids including oils and alcohols. Critical to this research is the understanding of hierarchical structure to increase contact angle while decreasing contact angle hysteresis. Commercial applications include self-cleaning surfaces, stain-free textiles, and corrosion prevention.

Transparent It's not enough to be superhydrophobic. If you can't see through it, it makes a poor windshield, motorcycle helmet visor, rearview mirror, lens, or tablet screen. By fine tuning the hierarchical texture, researchers have been able to produce surfaces that are very non-wetting for a wide variety of liquids, exhibit low contact angle hysteresis, and most importantly are transparent.2

Self-healing It's not enough to be non-wetting. If the surface is delicate and loses its efficacy when it's damaged or clogged, it's no longer superhydrophobic. Researchers at Harvard3 are working on a Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surface (SLIPS) technology inspired by the Nepenthes pitcher plant. SLIPS surfaces are self-healing, can be made transparent, and are very repellent to high and low surface tension liquids. Researchers from MIT have developed a similar technology to help condiments slide out of their bottles.4

Temperature Resistant It's not enough to repel water at ambient lab temperature. In the real world, things can get hot and cold. Last month we discussed icephobicity - making surfaces repel ice buildup.5 At the other end of the spectrum, researchers are working on making their engineered surfaces stable, effective, and mechanically durable at elevated temperatures as well.

Low-cost It's not enough to make a surface that's superomniphobic, transparent, self-healing and temperature resistant; if the surface cannot be produced in volume at a low enough price point, the number of commercial applications will be limited. As new technologies and methods are developed, engineered surfaces will not only become more than just superhydrophobic, they will possess additional characteristics that will allow them to succeed in a variety of commercial applications.

1 doi:10.1038/am.2014.34
2 doi:10.1002/anie.201307222
3 See http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpage/316
4 See http://liquiglide.com/
5 See http://www.ramehart.com/newsletters/2015-03_news.htm  


Product Update: Model 190
We are pleased to announce an upgrade for our entry-level tool. Model 190, our most affordable instrument, is also one of our most popular models. We have upgraded the camera from our F2 Series camera (1/4 CCD, FireWire interface, 60 fps) to our newer and faster U1 Series camera (1/3 CCD, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, 100 fps). In addition, we have upgraded the backlighting from LED to cool halogen via a fiber optic illuminator. The p/n has changed from 190-F2 to 190-U1 while the included DROPimage CA software package is still standard.

Video: Measuring Contact Angle with DROPimage CA https://youtu.be/CtF8ZgW2AOQ

Model 190 also includes a PC and manual dispensing in order to offer turn-key operation out of the box. Since Model 190 hardware is now identical to Model 200 and 250, it is very easy to upgrade from 190 to 200 or 250 with only a software upgrade to DROPimage Standard or DROPimage Advanced. Furthermore, Model 190 supports a wide array of options, including our Automated Dispensing System, Hot Plate, Heated Environmental Cell, Film Clamps, Environmental Fixture, and Manual Tilting Base.

An affordable entry-level model with nearly unlimited expansion and upgrade potential, Model 190 is a wise investment for any lab environment that needs contact angle capability today but possibly more capabilities (such as surface energy, surface tension, etc.) in the future.

If you are interested in Model 190, don't hesitate to contact us for a quotation and more information.



Carl Clegg
Director of Sales
Phone 973-448-0305
Contact us


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