Preparation of Functional Silica Using a Bioinspired Method
Another pioneering report of biomimicry focused on the surface of the Trifolium leaf, which has a self-cleaning property. In this work, silicone elastomer was used to fabricate biomimetic surfaces using the Trifolium leaf as a template. The surface of the replica displays a remarkable amount of microspines with a size similar to that of the original Trifolium leaf, and is effective in resisting the settlement of microalgae. The antifouling property of the replica was improved by modification with poly 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate PSPMA , a kind of hydrophilic acrylate polymers [ 81 ].
In a recent study, Huang et al. The contact angle variation after the surface soaked in protein solution indicates that the fabricated biomimetic surface microstructure can block the adhesion of protein. The high-magnification SEM images of shark skin surface show that the ridge possesses relatively smooth surface structure. However, some nanostructured protuberances were found on the concave groove surface. The high-magnification SEM images of biomimetic shark skin demonstrate a very smooth surface which does not contain any nanostructured protuberances [ 79 ].
We have reviewed strategies for designing effective antifouling approaches for silicon and silicon-based materials, although several of them have associated shortcomings. In addition, by providing a surface topography that is unfavorable for biofoulant attachment, it can also repel the attached biofoulant from the silicon and silicon-based material surface.
In other words, the development of an absolutely nonfouling surface is extremely difficult. The old antifouling coating needs to be removed, and a new antifouling coating needs to be applied once the fouling layer is formed.
One of the approaches to remove antifouling paint is by scraping, which is a time consuming process. In addition, one might damage the surface during this coating removal process. We must therefore explore methods by which to restore the permanently fouled surface and maximize the effective use of the modified materials.
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We expect that these methods can be described in near future and become solutions to reduce the cost associated with fouling for industry, and can prevent long-term bio-fouling for those biomedical devices which are fouled over quickly, such as the colonization of bacteria on catheters, contact lenses, and surgical tools, so that the healthcare costs can be decreased.
However, in those cases, the challenge would be developing a coating or an approach of modification that will resist adhesion of all forms of biofouling.
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