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Effect of the covalently linked fatty acid 18-MEA on the nanotribology of hair's outermost surface

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Highly ordered lipids adsorbed or grafted on surfaces are known to provide protection and lubrication custom engineered surfaces. We have used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure adhesion and frictional properties of the outermost surfaces of a variety of human hairs with the aim of both understanding the role of 18-methyleicosanoic acid (18-MEA), an unusual branched-chain fatty acid covalently bound to the cuticle surface, and investigating how treatments or the ethnic origin affect this layer. Results show that an unmodified silicon nitride AFM tip is able to detect changes at the hair surface that can be related to the absence or presence of this layer due to treatment conditions and in particular that this monolayer has a lubricant effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

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