Researchers in Europe have designed a self-cleaning sheet metal.
The inspiration for this project has come from defence mechanisms found in plants, like the Louts leaf. The TresClean project has harnessed photonic technology (used in plants) to develop a fluid-repellent, antibacterial surface.
This new development will initially be used to create antibacterial surfaces for the food production industry, which expected to increase productivity and reduce cost in factories.
Developers at TresClean are using high-power cutting lasers to create a specifically tailored, rough micro-topography on sheet metal that mimics the Lotus leaf, repelling liquid from them. The rough surface creates mini-pockets of air that minimises the contact between the surface and liquid.
Metal Surface have textured designed innovative industrial photonics devices. These high power lasers are used in combination with scanning heads by utilising a beam enabling movement of 200m/s. This method cuts areas of 500 square, meaning developers can achieve surface texturization in less than 30 minutes.
TreClean is initially aiming to supply its products to the food manufacturing industry. The product is set to be on the market in two years time, and will make a positive impact on productivity.
This new product also has long-term possibilities and implications for other sectors too. Including medical cutting tools, sterile surfaces and more, adding a high value to the development of medical and household products.