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Research Projects

Soft Channels Textured with Biomimetic Chemistry and Topology for Lubrication and Insulation

Michael Mayer, MS/PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering

Marc Hodes, Mechanical Engineering

The lotus leaf is revered for its pristine appearance as a consequence of a "self-cleaning" effect which occurs as water droplets roll off of it due to its hydrophobic chemistry and micro/nanoscopically-rough topography. This effect can be exploited on synthetic surfaces by using modern microfabrication technology. When liquid flows through a soft channel lined with the necessary topology and coated with a low surface energy fluoropolymer, momentum and heat transfer are affected. This can lead to reduced, e.g., flow resistance and insulation of the liquid flowing through the channel. We are developing mathematical models to capture such effects and, subsequently, will utilize them to develop new technologies for soft robotics applications.