Enhanced Condensation on Superhydrophobic Surfaces: from Nanoscale Mechanisms to Design Guidelines
with Konrad Rykaczewski, Ph.D.
MIT Research Scientist
National Institute of Standards and Technology

January 29, 2013
10 a.m.
ERC 490
View seminar flier

abstract: Surfaces which manifest superhydrophobic properties during water condensation have a potential to dramatically enhance energy efficiency in power generation and desalination systems. However, only a few surfaces with macroscopic water contact angles above 150 degrees retain their ultrawater repellant properties during water condensation, and development of “properly designed” superhydrophobic surfaces has been fortuitous, not driven by an understanding of the underlying physical processes.

This talk will cover the development of several novel electron microscopy methods for quantitative nano-to-microscale imaging of water condensation. The recent use of these techniques to elucidate the complex relationship between nanoscale surface roughness, mechanism of individual droplet formation and macroscale condensation dynamics will be presented. The development of quantitative design guidelines for robust superhydrophobic surfaces intended for condensation applications enabled by this new fundamental insight will be described. Finally, the remaining obstacles to industrial use of superhydrophobic surfaces and opportunities for nanoscale imaging of thermofluidic processes will be identified.

biosketch: Konrad Rykaczewski is an MIT research scientist based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. After completing his Ph.D. in 2009 under the direction of professor Andrei Fedorov, he spent two years as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at NIST. The primary focus of his research is development of nanoengineered surface technologies for enhancing the efficiency of thermal systems in a variety of industries including energy, water, gas and oil, and transportation. Rykaczewski’s expertise includes quantitative nanoscale imaging of thermofluidic processes and scalable 3-D nanofabrication.

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