"Insensitive" to touch: Fabric-supported lubricant-swollen polymeric films for omniphobic personal protective gear

Viraj G. Damle, Abhishiktha Tummala, Sriram Chandrashekar, Cassidee Kido, Ajay Roopesh, Xiaoda Sun, Kyle Doudrick, Jeff Chinn, James R. Lee, Timothy P. Burgin, Konrad Rykaczewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The use of personal protective gear made from omniphobic materials that easily shed drops of all sizes could provide enhanced protection from direct exposure to most liquid-phase biological and chemical hazards and facilitate the postexposure decontamination of the gear. In recent literature, lubricated nanostructured fabrics are seen as attractive candidates for personal protective gear due to their omniphobic and self-healing characteristics. However, the ability of these lubricated fabrics to shed low surface tension liquids after physical contact with other objects in the surrounding, which is critical in demanding healthcare and military field operations, has not been investigated. In this work, we investigate the depletion of oil from lubricated fabrics in contact with highly absorbing porous media and the resulting changes in the wetting characteristics of the fabrics by representative low and high surface tension liquids. In particular, we quantify the loss of the lubricant and the dynamic contact angles of water and ethanol on lubricated fabrics upon repeated pressurized contact with highly absorbent cellulose-fiber wipes at different time intervals. We demonstrate that, in contrast to hydrophobic nanoparticle coated microfibers, fabrics encapsulated within a polymer that swells with the lubricant retain the majority of the oil and are capable of repelling high as well as low surface tension liquids even upon multiple contacts with the highly absorbing wipes. The fabric supported lubricant-swollen polymeric films introduced here, therefore, could provide durable and easy to decontaminate protection against hazardous biological and chemical liquids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4224-4232
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 25 2015


  • functional coatings
  • hybrid personal protective gear
  • lubricated omniphobic surfaces
  • superhydrophobic/philic surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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