The hydrophobicity of the fins provides inspiration for the development of anti-icing surfaces and self-cleaning materials

Previous research has shown that the special structure of the dragonfly's wings has shown the ability to kill bacteria. Inspired by this, scientists are designing a "touch and die" nano-column antibacterial surface. Scientists now focus on the hydrophobicity of the surface of the fins and say that this can provide inspiration for the development of anti-icing surfaces and self-cleaning materials.

The dragonfly's wings are covered with nanometer-sized pillars that stick to them when the bacteria lands on them and slowly stretch and divide their cell membranes to kill them. Last year, a group of researchers was inspired by this principle to produce a synthetic antibacterial polymer that can form the basis of new eye implants.

This structure of dragonfly wings makes it hydrophobic. A team from the University of Illinois studied the fins with high-speed micrographs to study how they reject water. Nenad Miljkovic, a professor of engineering who is in charge of the study, said: “The ability of an object to repel water is called hydrophobicity, which causes water to flow away. Superhydrophobicity is just an extreme form of this feature. The fins have a nano-scale topography that creates an open space around the water droplets so that water droplets on the surface of the wings roll off easily."

The interesting part of this research is the sample that scientists chose to study. Previously, these wing-finger studies focused on species living in wetlands. Instead, researchers collected four species from various environments, including forests and grasslands.

Research co-author Catherine Dana said: “We hope to find that specimens from dry habitats will lack superhydrophobicity. We were surprised to find that in the opposite case, habitat is not a good predictor of hydrophobicity of the fins.”

The team said that this new knowledge can be used to develop anti-icing, anti-fog surfaces and self-cleaning materials. These types of materials can be used on roads, sidewalks, wires and aircraft wings.

The research results were published in the magazine Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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