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Multi-Functional Insect Cuticles: Informative Designs for Man-Made Surfaces

Authors: Hsuan-Ming S Hu, Jolanta A Watson, Bronwen W Cribb, Gregory S Watson


Biomimicry has many potential benefits as many technologies found in nature are superior to their man-made counterparts. As technological device components approach the micro and nanoscale, surface properties such as surface adhesion and friction may need to be taken into account. Lowering surface adhesion by manipulating chemistry alone might no longer be sufficient for such components and thus physical manipulation may be required. Adhesion reduction is only one of the many surface functions displayed by micro/nano-structured cuticles of insects. Here, we present a mini review of our understanding of insect cuticle structures and the relationship between the structure dimensions and the corresponding functional mechanisms. It may be possible to introduce additional properties to material surfaces (indeed multi-functional properties) based on the design of natural surfaces.

Keywords: Biomimicry, micro/nanostructures, self-cleaning surfaces, superhydrophobicity

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