Unravelling the how, when and why of self-propelled and self-sustained particle self-cleaning mechanisms on superhydrophobic surfaces

We elucidate the fundamental principles behind efficient removal of contaminants from self-cleaning surfaces. We identify and propose a number of passive and active measures with which we will be able to promote and govern the self-cleaning on superhydrophobic surfaces. We use resolved microscale numerical simulations and modelling at nanoscale to study in detail the complex interactions that particles, condensed droplets and superhydrophobic surfaces have in the two identified mechanisms of self-cleaning: “the rolling droplet” and “the self-propelled jumping droplet”. We will work with a wide parameter space of particle- and surface properties (e.g. wettability and surface anisotropy). The project will provide guidelines for design and development of self-cleaning surfaces in a variety of applications. This research is of great relevance in numerous applications. We target those related to the self-cleaning technology (from cleaning of solar panels to preventing fouling of heat-exchanger surfaces), but also the applications related to anti-icing and anti-contamination. The project starts in January 2020 and ends in December 2023. We will employ a PhD student in international competition. The main applicant is responsible for modelling and the quality and completion of the work, whereas the co-applicant will contribute in the numerical part. The research group in this proposal is internationally renowned in the field of multiphase flows, with complementary expertise.

Start date 01/01/2020
End date 31/12/2024

Page manager Published: Sat 31 Oct 2020.