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Crean a partir de una planta carnivora un material super-deslizante que repele todo tipo de líquidos viscosos

14 noviembre 2011 - 15:01 - Autor:

Cualquiera que use salsa de tomate con la comida sabrá lo difícil que es conseguir que fluyan los últimos vestigios de las botellas de ketchup sobre los alimentos.

Pero los apretones, pedorretas, agitones y demás operaciones para conseguir los restillos de nuestra salsa favorita pueden tener los días contados gracias a científicos de la Universidad de Harvard en Cambridge, Massachusetts (EE.UU.), que han descubierto un material super-resbaladizo que repele el agua y los líquidos a base de aceite y que será el principio de una nueva era de superficies de auto-limpieza que nunca se ensucian; e incluso podría recubrir el interior de las botellas y frascos para ayudar a los consumidores a obtener todos los alimentos de su interior.

El descubrimiento es obra de la profesora de ciencia de Materiales Joanna Aizenberg y su equipo liderado por el ingeniero Tak-Sing Wong, que se inspiraron en las plantas carnívoras de la especie Nepenthes (popularmente conocidas como “plantas jarra” o “copas de mono”), que tiene una superficie muy resbaladiza en la parte superior de sus hojas para que los insectos se deslicen hasta los jugos digestivos sin posibilidad de escape.

El equipo ha conseguido reproducir esta superficie del interior de la planta y ha obtenido un tipo de material que repele todo tipo de líquidos orgánicos, convirtiéndose en un impagable material impermeable que podría utilizarse en multitud de campos, incluido el recubrimiento de packaging de salsas, mermeladas y demás líquidos viscosos de amplio espectro.

Los científicos encontraron que las hojas de la planta tienen una textura esponjosa que se impregna de agua, de manera que repele el aceite pegajoso que se produce en las patas de los insectos.

Su estudio ha sido publicado en la revista científica Nature y recrearon esta “película lubricante” en el interior de los poros de una capa esponjosa de teflón (el mismo material para que no se “peguen” las sartenes), para producir una superficie artificial lisa y tremendamente resbaladiza.

El nuevo material, bautizado como SLIPS (Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface) cuenta con una característica poco común llamada “omnifobicidad”, que significa que puede repeler tanto el agua como los materiales aceitosos.

Los experimentos llevados a cabo por los científicos demostraron que al material le resbalan una amplia gama de líquidos, independientemente de su viscosidad, que van desde la sangre al petróleo en crudo o la mermelada. Ni siquiera las hormigas fueron capaces de caminar sobre las muestras superdeslizantes.

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/F0OoPH-sKYI 625 349]

Aunque existen una gran cantidad de aplicaciones posibles para este material, a los científicos (además del muy americano tema del ketchup) les entusiasman sus aplicaciones en el sector energético, para hacer más eficiente el flujo de aceite a través de tuberías, por ejemplo.

También repele el hielo y por tanto sería ideal para recubrir las alas de los aviones o los congeladores industriales para que no produzcan escarcha. Incluso como superficie anti-graffiti, por lo que la pintura pulverizada sobre una pared acabaría deslizándose hacia el suelo con el agua de lluvia y los dibujos terminarían por desaparecer como por arte de birli-birloque.

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/c_NYDwU_v4Y 625 349]

El estudio, en Nature, aquí

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Seguro que ahora lo patentan como si lo hubieran inventado ellos, por mucho que alguna tribu perdida del amazonas lo llevara utilizando miles de años. Ya se sabe que la naturaleza ha inventado casi todo antes que cualquiera de nosotros (si es que además de la naturaleza no lo ha inventado otro). Interesante aplicación, esperemos que más cosas vayan por esta vía y que se acaben las patentes.

A ver si empiezan a usarlo de una vez

Pues sí, seguramente lo patentaran y estan en todo su derecho ya que seguro que han invertido horas y horas de investigación.
Y lo de que alguna tribu ya lo usaba… dudo mucho que fuese cierto. No se trata de coger la planta, arrancarle la piel (o su superficie interior, vaya) y pegarsela a un material.

PD: Y lo de que la naturaleza lo ha inventado todo… usas los materiales polímericos muchas veces al día y son todo lo contrario a lo natural. ^^

Sí el motor a reacción dicen que se encontró en el culo de un mono y después lo pegaron a un avión y así volaba… La naturaleza lo ha inventado todo, lo más gracioso es que lo dices desde un ordenador, que no creo que lo hayan inventado las cabras…

si descubrir la superficie deslizante en la planta es facil y ovbio, capas ponerlo en otra cosa es algo complicado, pero lo invento la planta no los cientificos estos , si por algo se basan en la planta solamente tienen que IMITARLA , y hacer que la superficie a la que la quieren aplicar se comporte = , si eso es inventar…..
lo de los motores y la pc , hay que ser pelotudo para comprar eso con esto, la verdad… esto es mas quimica boludito, q sos de chile q no tepagarone studios o que?
Saludos desde argentina.

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