Preparation, anti-biofouling and drag-reduction properties of a biomimetic shark skin surface

paper8Published online on 02. March 2016

Preparation, anti-biofouling and drag-reduction properties of a biomimetic shark skin surface

Xia Pu, Guangji Li, Hanlu Huang


Shark skin surfaces show non-smoothness characteristics due to the presence of a riblet structure. In this study, biomimetic shark skin was prepared by using the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-embedded elastomeric stamping (PEES) method. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to examine the surface microstructure and fine structure of shark skin and biomimetic shark skin. To analyse the hydrophobic mechanism of the shark skin surface microstructure, the effect of biomimetic shark skin surface microstructure on surface wettability was evaluated by recording water contact angle. Additionally, protein adhesion experiments and anti-algae adhesion performance testing experiments were used to investigate and evaluate the anti-biofouling properties of the surface microstructure of biomimetic shark skin. The recorded values of the water contact angle of differently microstructured surfaces revealed that specific microstructures have certain effects on surface wettability. The anti-biofouling properties of the biomimetic shark skin surface with microstructures were superior to a smooth surface using the same polymers as substrates. Moreover, the air layer fixed on the surface of the biomimetic shark skin was found to play a key role in their antibiont adhesion property. An experiment into drag reduction was also conducted. Based on the experimental results, the microstructured surface of the prepared biomimetic shark skin played a significant role in reducing drag. The maximum of drag reduction rate is 12.5%, which is higher than the corresponding maximum drag reduction rate of membrane material with a smooth surface.

Biology Open (2016) 0, 1-8 doi:10.1242/bio.016899



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