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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e40987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040987. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Shrink-induced superhydrophobic and antibacterial surfaces in consumer plastics.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, USA.


Structurally modified superhydrophobic surfaces have become particularly desirable as stable antibacterial surfaces. Because their self-cleaning and water resistant properties prohibit bacteria growth, structurally modified superhydrophobic surfaces obviate bacterial resistance common with chemical agents, and therefore a robust and stable means to prevent bacteria growth is possible. In this study, we present a rapid fabrication method for creating such superhydrophobic surfaces in consumer hard plastic materials with resulting antibacterial effects. To replace complex fabrication materials and techniques, the initial mold is made with commodity shrink-wrap film and is compatible with large plastic roll-to-roll manufacturing and scale-up techniques. This method involves a purely structural modification free of chemical additives leading to its inherent consistency over time and successive recasting from the same molds. Finally, antibacterial properties are demonstrated in polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), and polyethylene (PE) by demonstrating the prevention of gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria growth on our structured plastic surfaces.

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