Biomimetic Plastronic Surfaces for Handling of Viscous Oil Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 American Chemical Society. Unconventional deposits such as extra heavy oil and bitumen represent a steadily increasing proportion of extracted fuels. The rheological properties of viscous crude oil represents a formidable impediment to their extraction, transportation, and processing and have necessitated considerable retooling and changes to process design. In this work, we demonstrate that highly textured inorganic substrates generated by depositing ZnO nanotetrapods onto periodically ordered stainless steel mesh substrates exhibit viscous oil contact angles exceeding 150as well as enable the facile gliding of viscous oil. Such functionality is derived as a result of multiscale texturation and porosity achieved within these substrates, which are characterized by trapping of plastronic air pockets at the solid/liquid interface. Further reduction of the surface energy has been achieved by constituting a helical highly ordered self-assembled monolayer of a perfluorinated phosphonic acid on the ZnO surfaces. Such structures are strongly ejected upon immersion in water with water contact angles in excess of 160. The functionalized substrates demonstrate remarkable superoleophobic behavior toward viscous crude oil with contact angles reaching 156and are furthermore stable to temperatures of 290C. The remarkable results evidenced here hold promise for deployment of these constructs in the handling of viscous oil in order to reduce losses associated with transportation from railroad cars, pipelines, and other oil-handling equipment.

published proceedings

  • Energy & Fuels

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • OLoughlin, T. E., Dennis, R. V., Fleer, N. A., Alivio, T., Ruus, S., Wood, J., Gupta, S., & Banerjee, S.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • O’Loughlin, Thomas E||Dennis, Robert V||Fleer, Nathan A||Alivio, Theodore EG||Ruus, Stephanie||Wood, Jennifer||Gupta, Subodh||Banerjee, Sarbajit

publication date

  • September 2017