Nature-inspired antibacterial metals to reduce costs in the food industry



Scientists have developed a laser-textured, liquid-repellent metal surface to help increase productivity and reduce costs in the food industry.

From aviation to medicine, various sectors are increasingly using materials that mimic the lotus plant, whose leaves have self-cleaning properties. Thanks to the bumpy surface structure covered with tube-shaped wax crystals, water falling on these leaves forms beads that roll off, carrying away dust and dirt. Using this naturally occurring lotus effect concept, a team of scientists has taken a quantum leap towards the production of self-cleaning sheet metal on an industrial scale. Supported by the EU-funded TresClean project, the team created a roughened surface on the metal that reduces wettability and prevents bacterial adhesion.

news item by the Science|Business Network of industry research and policy organisations summarises the technology: “TresClean has used high-power laser cutting devices to create microscopic ‘spikes’ and ‘ridges’ in sheet metal causing liquids to ‘bounce off’ the rough micro-topography that mimics the surface of the Lotus leaf.”

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