Bioinspired slippery cone for controllable manipulation of gas bubbles in low-surface-tension environment

Xiao Xiao, Chunhui Zhang, Hongyu Ma, Yuheng Zhang, Guoliang Liu, Moyuan Cao, Cunming Yu, Lei Jiang

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73 Citations (Scopus)


Manipulating bubbles in surfactant solutions or oil mediums is of vital importance in daily life and industries concerned with cosmetics, food, fermentation, mineral flotation, etc. However, realizing controllable regulation of a bubble's behavior is quite challenging in a low-surface-tension aqueous environment, which is mainly attributed to the strong affinity of liquid molecules to a solid surface to prevent the efficient interaction of gas bubbles with the solid surface. To address these issues, herein, we have taken inspiration from cactus spines and pitcher plants to develop a slippery copper cone (SCC), which can facilely manipulate gas bubble in surfactant solutions (as low as ∼29.9 mN/m, 20 °C), e.g., directional and continuous transportation of gas bubbles. This intriguing capability mainly originates from the cooperation of the conical morphology engendering a Laplace pressure and the slippery surface with low friction force but high affinity to bubbles. In addition, the SCC also shows an elegant capability of transporting gas bubbles in various organic solvents, such as formamide (57.4 mN/m, 20 °C), glycol (46.5 mN/m, 20 °C), dibutyl phthalate (37.0 mN/m, 20 °C), and dimethylformamide (35.8 mN/m, 20 °C). Furthermore, the prepared SCC also demonstrated distinguished feasibility in antibuoyancy bubble delivery, efficient collection of acidic CO 2 microbubbles, and the underwater reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, endowing it with promising applications in various complex low-surface-tension environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4083-4090
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • bioinspired slippery copper cone
  • gas bubble
  • Laplace pressure
  • low-surface-tension environment
  • spontaneous and directional delivery

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