Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Antibacterial Nanostructured Surfaces for Biological Applications

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.04.02  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology  Metallic materials 

Code Science Field
T155  Technological sciences  Coatings and surface treatment 

Code Science Field
2.10  Engineering and Technology  Nano-technology 
antifoling coatings, antibacterial coatings, hybrid coatings, corrosion, superhydrophobicity, nanostructuring
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  19165  PhD Marjetka Conradi  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
2.  18271  PhD Miha Čekada  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
3.  25126  PhD Črtomir Donik  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
4.  10842  PhD Matjaž Godec  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2017 - 2018 
5.  32545  PhD Matej Hočevar  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
6.  12616  PhD Darinka Kek Merl  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 
7.  18475  PhD Aleksandra Kocijan  Materials science and technology  Head  2016 - 2018 
8.  07642  PhD Vojteh Leskovšek  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
9.  08850  PhD Djordje Mandrino  Physics  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
10.  18594  PhD Paul John Mc Guiness  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
11.  09090  PhD Peter Panjan  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
12.  15269  PhD Bojan Podgornik  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
13.  05438  PhD Matjaž Torkar  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  18 
2.  0206  Institute of Metals and Technology  Ljubljana  5051622000 
Motivation for the proposed project is the design of hybrid inorganic/organic coatings using a range of molecular surface engineering approaches to protect stainless steel surfaces from biofouling induced problems in biological environments. We will focus on the improvement of anticorrosion, antifouling and antibacterial technologies which minimise negative environmental impact and reduce the adhesion of fouling organisms through the physicochemical properties of the surface. We will therefore focus on the development of hybrid inorganic/organic coatings which share similar engineering approaches but differ in specific targeting properties. Novel, nanoscale surfaces will be evaluated and characterised physically, chemically and mechanically. The results will be used to modify and refine the surfaces in the iterative approach. The most promising strategies will be developed and subjected to a hierarchy of evaluations for possible end-use systems in aquatic environments and biomedical applications. Our main research subject will be preparation of nanoparticle/epoxy, nanoparticle/PEG and nanoparticle/PDMS composites, that will serve as protective coatings for two types of steel, duplex (DSS 2205) and austenitic (AISI 316L and AISI 304L) stainless steels. We will select the proper type, concentration and size of nanofillers to obtain desirable properties. Due to the increased surface/volume ratio of nanoparticles, it is the surface chemistry that drives the properties of the polymer matrix and consequently the composite as a whole. On the other hand, the degree of dispersion in combination with nanoparticle-polymer entanglement plays a crucial role in preventing the pristine properties of nanoparticles in the composite. In order to minimize the surface energy of the coating we will play with the surface functionalization of the nanofillers (i. e. fluorination) and tailor the nanoroughness of coatings to bring the wetting properties into the superhydrophobic limit. All considered coatings will be carefully reviewed, the microstructure, mechanical properties and corrosion resistance under various conditions (sea water, a physiological medium, etc.) will be investigated. The coatings will be examined microscopically and spectroscopically, using light and electron microscopy, as well as surface-sensitive techniques such as Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS), wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (WDS) high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Within mechanical testing we will test the degree of adhesion by using the "pull-off" test, wear resistance will be tested by a scratch test and tribological tests under controlled conditions. Wetting properties (hydrophilicity or. hydrophobicity) will be characterized by contact angle and surface energy measurements. Corrosion resistance will be studied using electrochemical techniques of cyclic voltammetry, potentiodynamic measurements and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. By means of atomic emission spectroscopy with inductively coupled plasma we will evaluate the possible dissolution of metal ions in simulated physiological conditions under prolonged exposure. The proposed project has the ambition to form necessary basic know-how for formulation and preparation of hybrid inorganic/organic coatings for the high-added value products in biological environments.
Significance for science
The proposed project will be held within interdisciplinary collaboration that brings together researchers in the field of chemistry, physics, metallurgy and mechanical engineering. We therefore expect significant contribution to the original scientific as well as applicable results. Antifouling polymer coatings will be improved in the hybrid coatings with implemented nanoparticles. Further functionalization of nanoparticles will additionally enhance antiadhesion and antibacterial properties, reduce wettability to superior microbiologically induced corrosion protection in comparison to commercially available coatings.
Significance for the country
The project will develop new environmentally benign technology solutions that aim to balance the societal concerns for safety, health and the environment with industrial competitiveness by limiting the amount of toxic and costly chemicals. The project will make an important contribution to solving economically important problems related to additional costs due to the increase in frictional drag caused by the development of fouling on hulls of ships and pleasure craft. Additionally, biofouling of intake structures, screens, seawater piping systems and heat-exchanger tubes in desalination and power plants causes an overall decline in plant efficiency at great economic cost. The research group of the proposed project is also actively involved in the programme Metallurgy Europe - Renaissance programme for 2012-2022 which recognises metallurgy due to the strategic importance of metallic materials in all priority development areas. This initiative brings together Europe's largest industrial companies such as Airbus Group, Siemens, Daimler, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Philips, Linde, ESI, Arcellor Mittal, Sandvik, SKF, Thyssen Krupp, Tata Steel, Fiat and many others. The initiative also promotes subdomain Bio-implanted Devices that combines industrial partners, research institutes and universities in the field of biocompatible materials, where we are actively involved. We also participated in the preparation of programme "Strategy of metallurgy development in Slovenia 2015-2025". In Strategy of smart specialization of the Republic of Slovenia the domain of medicine and the development of materials as final products are identified as two of the most promising technological areas, which are already clearly involved in the global markets. Within the framework of the initiative the high-tech international cooperation in the areas of medical/biological applications is expected.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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