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Antifouling Biomimetic Liquid-Infused Stainless Steel: Application to Dairy Industrial Processing

Zouaghi, Sawsen, Six, Thierry, Bellayer, Séverine, Moradi, Sona, Hatzikiriakos, Savvas G., Dargent, Thomas, Thomy, Vincent, Coffinier, Yannick, André, Christophe, Delaplace, Guillaume, Jimenez, Maude
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.31 pp. 26565-26573
biomimetics, contact angle, energy, environmental impact, equipment, food industry, fouling, hydrophobicity, hysteresis, oils, pasteurization, product safety, production costs, stainless steel
Fouling is a widespread and costly issue, faced by all food-processing industries. Particularly, in the dairy sector, where thermal treatments are mandatory to ensure product safety, heat-induced fouling represents up to 80% of the total production costs. Significant environmental impacts, due the massive consumption of water and energy, are also to deplore. Fouling control solutions are thus desperately needed, as they would lead to substantial financial gains as well as tremendous progress toward eco-responsible processes. This work aims at presenting a novel and very promising dairy fouling-mitigation strategy, inspired by nature, and to test its antifouling performances in real industrial conditions. Slippery liquid-infused surfaces were successfully designed directly on food grade stainless steel, via femtosecond laser ablation, followed by fluorosilanization and impregnation with an inert perfluorinated oil. Resulting hydrophobic surfaces (water contact angle of 112°) exhibited an extremely slippery nature (contact angle hysteresis of 0.6°). Outstanding fouling-release performances were obtained for these liquid-infused surfaces as absolutely no trace of dairy deposit was found after 90 min of pasteurization test in pilot-scale equipment followed by a short water rinse.