School Seminar: Professor Glen McHale, University of Edinburgh
Wednesday, 31 January 2024 11:00am – 12:00pm
This seminar will be delivered in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 3
Speaker: Professor Glen McHale
Host: Prof. Chiara Neto
Title: Nature-Inspired Strategies for Surfaces Slippery to Liquids
Abstract: Water is all around us. On a wet day we need coats to keep us dry, windscreen wipers to see and reservoirs to collect water to drink. There are few things more essential for life. However, when objects become small, the force of gravity gives way to the force of surface tension. In this world, Nature really does know how to manipulate water. Insects walk on water. Diving beetles breathe without the need for gills. Desert beetles drink from fog. Lotus leaves stay dry and stay clean. Galling aphids roll away their sticky liquid waste. And the Nepenthes Pitcher Plant eats ants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In all these cases, the key is the natural adaptation of surfaces to control how they interact with water. In this talk, I will give an overview of how Nature inspires diverse strategies to manipulate droplets and liquids to engineer super-water repellent, super-slippery, low friction and drag reducing surfaces. I will explain how the sliding of solids-on-solids can inspire a liquid-on-solid version of Amontons’ laws of friction and how this allows solid-liquid interfacial interactions to be understood, the wetting of surfaces to be manipulated and the liquid friction to be reduced.
Acknowledgements. Many collaborators contributed to this work, which was part-funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Leverhulme Trust.
Bio: Glen is Chair of Interfacial Science & Engineering and Director of Chemical Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, and is a member of the Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids in the School of Engineering. He was previously Pro Vice Chancellor (REF) and PVC/Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Environment at Northumbria University, UK. His research is on how liquids interact with surfaces both smooth and textured, and with and without electric fields to control their wettability. This encompasses droplet-surface interactions, liquid-solid friction and nature-inspired surface engineering. The UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has extensively supported his research. He has published over 240 original refereed journal papers together with invited reviews on topics from superhydrophobicity to liquid-infused surfaces. Glen is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Institute of Physics (IoP), the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (SMIEEE).