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Non-wetting Liquid-Infused Slippery Paper

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posted on 09.11.2021, 19:37 by Saumyadwip Bandyopadhyay, Somnath Santra, Sankha Shuvra Das, Rabibrata Mukherjee, Suman Chakraborty
Liquid-infused slippery surfaces have replaced structural superhydrophobic surfaces in a plethora of emerging applications, hallmarked by their favorable self-healing and liquid-repelling characteristics. Their ease of fabrication on different types of materials and increasing demand in various industrial applications have triggered research interests targeted toward developing an environmental-friendly, flexible, and frugal substrate as the underlying structural and functional backbone. Although many expensive polymers such as polytetrafluoroethylene have so far been used for their fabrication, these are constrained by their compromised flexibility and non-ecofriendliness due to the use of fluorine. Here, we explore the development and deployment of a biodegradable, recyclable, flexible, and an economically viable material in the form of a paper matrix for fabricating liquid-infused slippery interfaces for prolonged usage. We show by controlled experiments that a simple silanization followed by an oil infusion protocol imparts an inherent slipperiness (low contact angle hysteresis and low tilting angle for sliding) to the droplet motion on the paper substrate and provides favorable anti-icing characteristics, albeit keeping the paper microstructures unaltered. This ensures concomitant hydrophobicity, water adhesion, and capillarity for low surface tension fluids, such as mustard oil, with an implicit role played by the paper pore size distribution toward retaining a stable layer of the infused oil. With demonstrated supreme anti-icing characteristics, these results open up new possibilities of realizing high-throughput paper-based substrates for a wide variety of applications ranging from biomedical unit operations to droplet-based digital microfluidics.