Beech wood cross sections as natural templates to fabricate superhydrophobic surfaces

  • Yaru Wang
  • Selin Vitas
  • Ingo Burgert
  • Etienne CabaneEmail author


Inspired by the hierarchical and porous wood microstructure, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-positive replicas of beech (Fagus sylvatica) cross sections, with superhydrophobic properties, were fabricated. Microtomed transverse sections of beech wood were directly used as templates, and an accurate replication of the anatomical wood features (vessels and fibers) was obtained. The resulting PDMS-positive replicas show an arrangement of pillars, contributing to surface structuration. By adjusting the PDMS pre-curing time, the extent of PDMS penetration could be controlled inside the wood capillaries, inducing the formation of pillars with various aspect ratios. The wettability of the templated surfaces as a function of the different pillars heights was studied, and the optimal pillar aspect ratio was identified to enhance the hydrophobicity of the PDMS structured surfaces (reaching a water contact angle of 156°). Fagus sylvatica wood cross sections are therefore simple, scalable, and inexpensive templates to manufacture structured surfaces, with the possibility to adjust wettability according to application needs.



The authors would like to thank the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for funding, Stéphane Croptier and Thomas Schnider from the Wood Materials Science group in ETH Zürich for discussions on wood species and for their help in wood samples preparation, respectively. We are grateful to the Scientific Center for Optical and Electron Microscopy (ScopeM) at ETH Zürich for the SEM studies.

Author contributions

The manuscript was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the manuscript.

Funding sources

Yaru Wang is financed by the Chinas Scholarship Council.

Supplementary material

226_2019_1113_MOESM1_ESM.docx (7.9 mb)
Supporting Information. A PDF file with additional data is available (images of native wood and replicas, roughness measurements with stylus profilometry and AFM). (DOCX 8133 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wood Materials ScienceETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Applied Wood MaterialsEMPA-Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland

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