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Surface wettability of functional nanostructures

Wettability control of PAA-based nanocomposites

Understanding surface wettability is important for better design and manufacture of nanocomposite-based devices such as microfluidics, self-cleaning surfaces, bio-sensors, and filtration devices. Many studies have been conducted to identify the fundamental wettability of nanocomposites, but most previous work has focused on the direct measurement of their wettability. We have worked to establish a new wetting model to predict the physical wetting behavior of nanocomposites, specifically for porous alumina (PAA) nanocomposites, that takes into account the air-pocket effect. By extending my research to other types of nanocomposites having the potential to deliver controllable wettability, we hope to yield benefits for the design and manufacture of nanocomposites in any fluid treatment applications. 

Moreover, based on the electrowetting effect, surface wettability can be manipulated by applying electrical potential to a metallic electrode or an electrode coated with a dielectric material. From this application, we can gain further insight into the correlation between structural characteristics and surface wettability of nanocomposites with electrical potential. For example, it is possible to manipulate the surface energy of a PAA nanocomposite by controlling its shape, as well as by applying electrical potential. We will investigate critical design factors to identify general electrowetting behavior of other nanocomposites. This research area is beneficial to the design of nanocomposites suitable for electrowetting applications and to fabricating other types of nanostructures using surface energy manipulation techniques.

S. Kim et. al., Friction, 2016

S. Kim et. al., Applied Surface Science, 2015

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