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At FML, major emphasis is been given to the applied research for applications in surface science and engineering. The major areas of research are:

​     1) Wetting phenomena (omniphobicity & slippery surfaces)

     2) Powders and Colloids processing

     3) Soft lithography

     4) Tribology

     5) Transport phenomena

Omniphobicity & slippery surfaces

Our group are intrigued by the wetting properties of liquid droplets at the solid surfaces. The liquids can be simple water, oils to real-life complex fluids and biological solutions. We tune the surface chemistry and surface topographies to prepare self-cleaning surfaces, oleophobic, superhydrophobic surfaces in marine applications, medical devices, food industries, paint industries etc.

We look at classical Young's equation, Wenzel, Cassie theories and other theories from wetting to measure, predict the thermodynamic stable configurations and also wetting dynamics of 2-phase, 3-phase and 4-phase systems.

Water drops in Wenzel configuration

Paint repellent slippery porous alumina

More details can be found at Link

S. Rowthu et al., Nanotechnology, 2017, 28, 505605. 

Soft Lithography

We are very excited to replicate micro and nano features from natural surfaces such as Lotus leaves, rose petals, butterfly, insects etc. onto polymers and ceramics using soft lithography techniques. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Replica molding

  2. Hot embossing

  3. Colloidal lithography

  4. Curing

  5. Casting

  6. Microtransfer printing

These can be combined with etching, plasma treatment, nanoparticles deposition to create roughened and hierarchical structures. A range of shapes, dimensions, curvatures, aspect ratios can be produced by this method. It is also easy to upscale the process. Such textured surfaces are typically useful for wetting, tribological and bacterial fouling applications.

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More details can be found at Link

Powders and colloids processing

We extensively work with nanopowders such as Al2O3, ZrO2, Pt, SiO2, stainless steel, clay, cement powders and process them in dry or wet states. Dry processing techniques include ball milling, cold compacting while wet techniques include spin coating, dip coating, slip casting followed by sintering to produce bulk specimens. We optimize the microstructures, grain morphologies, pore sizes and fractions for wetting, tribological and bacterial fouling applications.

Tribology

Friction, wear properties of lubricated and dry ceramics, micro textured surfaces and porous specimens are evaluated. A wide ranging normal loads, temperature ranges, humidity range are employed for testing. Different configurations namely flat on flat, sphere on disc, cylinder on flat can be used to test both in linear motion as well as in reciprocating motion.

Typical materials are Alumina, Zirconia, Stainless steel, some polymers and with solid and liquid lubricants.

Transport Phenomena

As we work at solid-liquid interfaces which are mobile in nature, we apply mass transport phenomena and conservation of linear momentum principles to investigate the droplet motion on slippery surfaces, lubricant removal at the contacting surfaces during abrasion as well as during slurry drying in colloidal lithography techniques. Lucas-Washburn equation, Stokes law, Navier-Stokes euqation, Ficks laws, Darcy's laws etc. are routinely employed in our experimental observations.

Funding agencies

Our collaborators

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