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This new material repels oil and water

By Chemical Engineering |

Meanwhile, a new class of highly fluorinated polymers is being developed at the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; Karlsruhe, Germany; www.kit.edu) that repels both water and oil. Last month, IMT was awarded €2.85 million funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; Bonn, Germany) to further develop the material, which has been dubbed “fluoropore.” “When combining the chemical properties of fluoropolymers with the roughness of the lotus plant, surfaces are obtained, from which both water and oil droplets will roll off,” says IMT mechanical engineer Bastian Rapp. In the laboratory, he has already produced surfaces with the so-called “lotus 2.0 effect” — which is super-repellent to both oil (photo, right) and water (photo, left). In practical use, however, they turned out to have an insufficient stability, and are especially prone to abrasion. So more work needs to be done to further develop the fluoropore. For this work, Rapp won the NanoMatFutur competition for young scientists, launched by the BMBF. One of the many potential applications for the new material is fine-pore screens, whose chemistry and structure allow for the separation of oil/water…
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