A team of European researchers have developed the first fluent-repellent, antibacterial metal surface they say could lead to self-cleaning saucepans, toilets and dishwashers.
Called the TresClean project (also known as the High Throughput Laser Texturing of Self-Cleaning and Antibacterial Surfaces) the team of scientists based their ideas on the defence mechanisms found in plants such as the Lotus leaf.
The project has made a breakthrough that will enable the production of self-cleaning sheet metal on an industrial scale for the first time. ‘The new technique will initially be used to create antibacterial surfaces for use in the food production industry’.
“In the same way that Lotus leaves keep themselves clean, without the need for cleaning products or chemicals, their jagged, rough surfaces enable water to stay as spherical droplets by preventing ‘spreading’,” explained TesClean project coordinator Professor Luca Romoli.
“Bacteria do not get a chance to stick because the contact with the metal surface and the liquid is reduced by over 80 per cent. We are looking at an anti-bacterial metal”.
‘While this replicating approach may currently exist for specific and expensive plastic components, it is a first for self-cleaning metal’.