Functions and water interaction mechanisms of micro/nanostructures on insect cuticle surfaces

Hu, Simon Hsuan-Ming (2014) Functions and water interaction mechanisms of micro/nanostructures on insect cuticle surfaces. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Understanding the tribology and adhesion between surfaces at a wide range of length scales is essential for creating the next generation of contamination resistant and super adhesive surfaces. Adhesion and frictional control between solid-solid or solid-liquid surface contacts impact on all aspects of life and is important in a variety of industrial applications and future technologies. Many studies have investigated micro-structures (arrays) on the scale from a few to a hundred micrometres but so far researches on smaller scales have been limited. This study will focus on the contact area and wettability of surfaces on the micro/nanoscale.

Insect cuticles, one of the most noteworthy naturally occurring nano-composite materials are considered a free and potentially rich source of technology 'invented' by natural selection. Many are multi-functional with efficiencies beyond that of artificially created surfaces. Insects with large wings are unable to clean themselves with their extremities. Contaminants (water and/or contaminating particles) on the wing have a negative effect on the flight capabilities of insects. Insects with a very high wing surface-body mass ratio (SM) index are more susceptible and greatly affected by contamination. A number of these insects exhibit unique structures to decrease wing contamination.

Recent studies show that some of these cuticles exhibit impressive superhydrophobic properties. Little was understood about their surface characteristics on the nano-scale prior to the invention of instrumentations and techniques such as the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). This study utilises the AFM to investigate the tribological properties, including adhesional properties, on a range of insect wing membranes at different length scales. The SEM has been useful to visualise and analyse the nanostructures and properties of surfaces.

New methodologies have been employed for micro and nano-scale investigation to determine the functions, functional efficiencies and potential applications of a range of micro/nanostructures recently found on the cuticle of insect wings. Interactions of natural contaminant mimicking spherical surfaces (of different size and chemistry) with insect cuticles were observed and tribological properties were measured. The project will address a number of scientific problems focusing on the control of adhesional properties between surfaces (solid-solid and solid-liquid interactions). A newly discovered water ridding mechanism due to hairs on the lacewing could lead to the creation of a true water repellent surface.

Item ID: 40869
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: adhesion; AFM; anti-wetting; atomic force microscope; atomic force microscopy; biomimicry; biotechnology; cell adhesion molecules; friction; hairs; insect biochemistry; insect cell biotechnology; insect cuticles; insect wings; insects; legs; microstructures; nanostructures; self-cleaning surfaces; superhydrophobicity; water repellents; water; wetting properties; wings
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Chapter 4: Hu, Hsuan-Ming, Watson, Jolanta A., Cribb, Bronwen W., and Watson, Gregory S. (2011) Fouling of nanostructured insect cuticle: adhesion of natural and artificial contaminants. Biofouling, 27 (10). pp. 1125-1137.

Chapter 7: Hu, Hsuan-Ming S., Watson, Gregory S., Cribb, Bronwen W., and Watson, Jolanta A. (2011) Non-wetting wings and legs of the cranefly aided by fine structures of the cuticle. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214 (6). pp. 915-920.

Other publications:

Hu, Hsuan-Ming S., Watson, Jolanta A., Cribb, Bronwen W., and Watson, Gregory S. (2011) Multi-functional insect cuticles: informative designs for man-made surfaces. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 59. pp. 1370-1374. Item availability may be restricted.

Watson, Gregory, Watson, Jolanta, Hu, Simon, Brown, Christopher L., Cribb, Bronwen W., and Myhra, Sverre (2010) Micro and nanostructures found on insect wings – designs for minimising adhesion and friction. International Journal of Nanomanufacturing, 5 (1/2). pp. 112-128. Item availability may be restricted.

Watson, Jolanta A., Cribb, Bronwen W., Hu, Hsuan-Ming, and Watson, Gregory S. (2011) A dual layer hair array of the brown lacewing: repelling water at different length scales. Biophysical Journal, 100 (4). pp. 1149-1155.

Watson, Gregory S., Brown, Christopher L., Myhra, Sverre, Roch, Nicholas C., Hu, Simon, and Watson, Jolanta A. (2006) 'Patterning' frictional differentiation to a polymer surface by atomic force microscopy. In: Proceedings of SPIE Volume 6037: Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, and Photonics IV (6037), pp. 1-11. From: SPIE Conference 6037: Device and process technologies for microelectronics, MEMS, and photonics IV, 12-14 December 2005, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2015 06:46
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1007 Nanotechnology > 100799 Nanotechnology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 86 MANUFACTURING > 8699 Other Manufacturing > 869999 Manufacturing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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