The National Science Foundation recently awarded Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hangjian Ling with a $299,778 grant for his project “Mechanism of gas depletion on super-hydrophobic surfaces in turbulent flows”.
In recent years there has been a large increase in the demand for ocean exploration which requires the usage of marine vessels. This ultimately leads to an increase in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. During the propulsion of the ship, the majority of the fuel or energy is spent to overcome the hydrodynamic friction experienced by the ship hull. Developing friction drag reduction techniques, therefore, could result in huge economic and environmental benefits. Among others, the textured super-hydrophobic (or water-repelling) surface is one emerging technology to potentially reduce friction drag.
Ling’s new research project aims to better understand the hydrodynamic interactions between the super-hydrophobic surface and turbulent flows by conducting state-of-the-art experimental measurements. In particular, Ling looks to answer a key question of how air bubbles trapped on the textured surface respond to turbulent flows.
“This new award allows our group to advance the knowledge of flow physics at the interface of novel materials, and to address the critical energy and environmental challenges in our society,” said Ling.
Ultimately, the results from this research will guide material scientists and engineers to develop novel passive and active technologies to save energy for maritime transport.