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Chapter 1

The Inspiration of Nature: Natural Counterparts with Self-cleaning Functions

A self-cleaning function is the capability of a material to maintain its contamination-free surface, avoiding the deposition of dirt. Quite a few self-cleaning surfaces have been found in nature that provide inspiration for fabricating various biomimicking artificial surfaces. In this chapter, we review the structure, performance and principle of those natural self-cleaning surfaces. Based on the self-cleaning mechanisms, the natural self-cleaning surfaces are divided into the following categories: (a) hydrophobic self-cleaning surfaces, (b) elastic effect of tomentum-induced self-cleaning surfaces, (c) micro/nanostructured slippery surfaces, (d) hydrophilic and oleophobic (in water) self-cleaning surfaces, and (e) disequilibrium of interfacial force induced self-cleaning surfaces. The self-cleaning functions of natural surfaces are generally induced either from interfacial wettability or interfacial force disequilibrium. The knowledge learned from Mother Nature would guide the development of artificial self-cleaning materials, which may have great potential in many fields, such as self-cleaning, antifouling, corrosion-resistance, anti-icing, anti-fingerprint and water–oil separation, etc.

Publication details

Print publication date
09 Sep 2016
Copyright year
Print ISBN
ePub eISBN
From the book series:
Smart Materials Series