According to the scientists, the new technology can store considerable amounts of lubricant in their molecular structure, much like a sponge holds liquids, which can then travel to the surface, repelling the bacteria and blocking the environment in which it forms.
Its function is compared to that of common soaps which don’t actually destroy bacteria, but instead make a slippery surface on the skin so that it can’t attach itself.
Discovery can help to develop 'better cosmetics'
While testing for effectiveness has been performed for medical fields, the authors say they have 'big plans' for applying super-slippery surfaces to other fields.
Professor of materials science, Joanna Aizenberg says her team has been working on designing several liquid-infused polymer systems which could be applied on various medical surfaces as well as ‘making better cosmetics’.
“The solid silicone tubing is saturated with silicone oil, soaking it up into all of the tiny spaces in its molecular structure so that the two materials really become completely integrated into one,” adds Caitlin Howell, co-author of the study.
Huge investment in polymers
Ana Margarida Fernandes, a researcher at the University of the Basque Country, recently published her work in the scientific journal Polymer. That research is expected to culminate in less expensive and more rapid strategies for making liquid marbles.
The method Fernandes is working with is less complex than other dry water science.
“The aim of the research is to better understand the behaviour of this compound, in order to make advances in the use of cheaper materials, such as polystyrene; to date, much more expensive silicon nanoparticles have been employed,” wrote Komunikazio Bulegoa in the basqueresearch.com article.
She reveals that “very stable ‘liquid marbles’ were prepared by gently shaking water droplets of different volumes onto the hydrophobic powders. The morphology and stability of the liquid marbles were characterized by optical and confocal microscopy.