An Optimised Surface Structure for Passive, Unidirectional Fluid Transport Bioinspired by True Bugs
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Some true bug species use droplet-shaped, open-capillary structures for passive, unidirectional fluid transport on their body surface in order to spread a defensive fluid to protect themselves against enemies. In this paper we investigated if the shape of the structures found on bugs (bug-structure) could be optimised with regard to better performance in unidirectional fluid transportation. Furthermore, to use this kind of surface structure in technical applications where fluid surface interaction occurs, it is necessary to adapt the structure geometry to the contact angle between fluid and surface. Based on the principal of operation of the droplet-shaped structures, we optimised the structure shape for better performance in targeted fluid flow and increase in flexibility in design of the structure geometry. To adapt the structure geometry and the structure spacing to the contact angle, we implemented an equilibrium simulation of the, the structure surrounding, fluid. In order to verify the functionality of the optimised structure, we designed and manufactured a prototype. By testing this prototype with pure water used as fluid, the functionality of the optimised structure and the simulation could be proved. This kind of structure may be used on technical surfaces where targeted fluid transport is needed, e.g. evacuation of condensate in order to prevent the surface from mold growth, microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip applications and on microneedles for efficient drug/vaccine coating.