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Printing Reinforcing Structures onto Microsieves that are Floating on a Water Surface

: Goedel, W.A.; Gläser, K.; Mitra, D.; Hammerschmidt, J.; Thalheim, R.; Ueberfuhr, P.; Baumann, R.R.


Langmuir. The ACS journal of surfaces and colloids 35 (2019), Nr.6, S.2196-2208
ISSN: 0743-7463
ISSN: 1520-5827
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

This article describes the preparation of hierarchically structured microsieves via a suitable combination of float-casting and inkjet-printing: A mixture of hydrophobized silica particles of 600 nm +/- 20 nm diameter, a suitable nonwater-soluble nonvolatile acrylic monomer, a nonvolatile photoinitiator, and volatile organic solvents is applied to a water surface. This mixture spontaneously spreads on the water surface; the volatile solvents evaporate and leave behind a layer of the monomer/initiator mixture comprising a monolayer of particles, each particle protruding out of the monomer layer at the top and bottom surface. Photopolymerization of the monomer converts this mixed layer into a solid composite membrane floating on the water surface. Onto this membrane, while still floating on the water surface, a hierarchical reinforcing structure based on a photocurable ink is inkjet-printed and solidified. In contrast to the nonreinforced membrane, the reinforced membrane can easily be lifted off the water surface without suffering damage. Subsequently, the silica particles are removed, and thus, the reinforced composite membrane is converted into a reinforced microsieve of 350 nm +/- 50 nm thickness bearing uniform through pores of 465 nm +/- 50 nm diameter. This reinforced microsieve is mounted into a filtration unit and used to filter model dispersions: its permeance for water at low Reynolds numbers is in accordance with established theories on the permeance of microsieves and significantly above the permeance of conventional filtration media; it retains particles exceeding the pore size, while letting particles smaller than the pore size pass.