How Insects-inspired Surfaces Prevent Wetting?


Project Description

Inspired by springtails and seaskaters, insects dwelling, respectively, inwetsoils and open oceans, we have developed textured surfaces that entrap air when submerged in water (and other liquids).1 Traditionally, to robustly entrap air underwater in microtextures, surfaces are coated with hydrophobic layers, such as perfluorocarbons and hydrocarbons. Our approach can enable any material liquid repellent. We are now investigating the time-dependence of this liquid repellent behavior.Specifically, we are testing stability of entrapped air under pressure, and also as a function of liquid vapor pressure, capillary condensation, and the dissolution of the trapped gas in the liquids. We are also exploring applications of this approach for water desalination.2 References:1.      Domingues, et al., Nature Communications (2018) 9, ArticleNumber:3606      Das, et al., Journal of Membrane Science(2019) ​
Program - Environmental Science and Engineering
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Water Desalination and Reuse Center
Field of Study - ​Environmental and Materials Science

About the

Himanshu Mishra

Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering

Himanshu Mishra
  • Biomimetics
  • Chemistries and electrification at water-hydrophobe interfaces
  • Surface forces (hydrophobic interactions, DLVO, structural forces)
  • Superhydrophobic sand mulches and soil amendments for arid land agriculture

Desired Project Deliverables

​The VSRP intern will work with senior Group members and learn the following skills:Laboratory experiments: contact angle cells, immersion studies, imaging (optical and confocal), microfabrication and IIID printing Theory: data analysis, data plotting. We expect the intern to be driven by curiosity, hard working, and thrive in a multicultural work environment.​​