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Laser-based biomimetic functionalization of surfaces: From moisture harvesting lizards to specific fluid transport systems

: Commans, P.; Winands, Kai; Arntz, Kristian; Klocke, Fritz; Baumgartner, W.

International journal of design & nature and ecodynamics 9 (2014), No.3, pp.206-215
ISSN: 1755-7437
ISSN: 1755-7445
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPT ()

Inspirations found in nature became more and more famous for an innovative product development. An inter-disciplinary approach of scientific research and industrial development has shown that identification and transfer of biological principles to technical applications uncover secrets of specific adaptations resulting in innovations with remarkable potential.
Investigating the functional morphology of moisture harvesting lizards revealed the underlying principles of an adaptation to a life in arid environments. To survive water scarcity these lizards have developed different water catchment strategies. Special skin structures enable them to acquire water from moist substrate and transport the collected water to the snout. The former is a micro ornamentation, which can hold a water film to render the surface superhydrophilic, the latter is a network of half-open capillary channels that transports the collected water. Transferring these structures to a producible structure design and to technical surfaces requires a fundamental understanding of the biological principles as well as an abstraction and modification. Additionally enabling manufacturing technologies like laser structuring are needed to realize a functional surface structuring on complex shaped products. It is concluded that a biomimetic liquid transport can increase the product performance, improves product life time or saves resources.