MSE Seminar: John T. Simpson

"The World's Most Water Repellent Material and Beyond"

Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017
3:30-4:30 p.m., Harshbarger 332


Retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher and current University of Tennessee research professor John Simpson lead an Oak Ridge National Laboratory research team that developed a series of superhydrophobic (extremely water repellent) materials. This specific research began more than ten years ago with the initial goal of making a nano-structured material that would be the most water-repellent material theoretically possible.

This talk will describe the essence of this research and discuss its possible commercial and scientific uses. In addition, there will be a demonstration of the water repellency of these materials.

In more detail:
A superhydrophobic surface is a hydrophobic surface enhanced by micro and nano-structured features. With the correct surface features and chemistry, such a surface can tremendously amplify the effects of the water’s surface tension. These surfaces are so water repellent that surface water gets replaced with a thin layer of air on the material’s surface. Dr. Simpson will demonstrate and discuss several spectacular effects which result from the interaction of water and the pinned layer of air on superhydrophobic surfaces. Superhydrophobic materials have many potential applications including watercraft drag reduction, water-repellent coatings, self-cleaning surfaces, anti-corrosion, anti-biofouling, and anti-icing properties.

Image depiction of "the Moses Effect"

University of Arizona College of Engineering