Fast self-replenishing slippery surfaces with a 3D fibrous porous network for the healing of surface properties†
Slippery lubricant-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS), which typically rely on surface structure and chemical properties to store and maintain the lubricant, usually lack fast self-replenishing ability due to the limited storage capacity of the lubricant or structure obstruction to fluid flow. Here, a practical and dexterous strategy for creating a lubricant-infused fibrous porous surface (LIFPS) which combines ultra-large capacity with fast self-replenishment is reported. This capability stems from the well-designed internal and surface hierarchical microstructures. Regularly arranged cavities designed to store the lubricant, similar to the nectaries of Nepenthes, are embedded inside the material and interconnected by a 3D fibrous porous network to promote rapid circulation of the lubricant. The internal pore structure and surface are interconnected by a 3D network of fibrous fine pores, and thereby form the surface microstructure, which effectively controls the leakage of the internal lubricant and maintains the stability of the surface lubricant film. Surface damage test shows that it is suitable for rapid healing of surface properties. This novel structural design, preparation method and the resulting surfaces are critical for designing advanced and fast self-replenishing slippery surfaces and driving their application.