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Aug 13th, 2012
Towards self-cleaning plastic components for the automotive industry
The goal of the NANOCLEAN project is to develop an industrial production method for injection moulded products to mimic the highly water repelling (super hydrophobic) surfaces of for example Lotus leafs.
This property results in self-cleaning surfaces for outdoor applications, where rainwater washes off the dirt without leaving any traces.
For such super hydrophobic surfaces a combination of low surface tension materials and a specific surface structure is required. The structure of the Lotus leaf for example is characterized by micropillars covered with waxy nanostructures. The project based on the lab-scale technology that was developed at the University of Twente and further developed by the spin-off company Lightmotif. Ultrashort pulsed lasers are used to machine a negative combined micro-nano structure into a metal mould. By injection moulding the structure is directly replicated onto the plastic products. This way mass production with functional surfaces is enabled.
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