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The project seeks to design and test and submersible enclosure capable of sustaining oxygen breathing life. A mesh covered in a superhydrophobic coating can both restrain water up to a maximum pressure and retain a direct interface between air and water. Oxygen can transfer over this boundary if there is a sufficient difference in concentrations between the water and air.

Multiple designs have been produced with the intent of testing and demonstrating these theories. 3D printing allowed for quick and customizable production of every component. Enclosures were made for testing the maximum allowable pressure and to fit an oxygen sensor. These mostly consisted of a rectangular frame with slotted to fit removable mesh slides. Oxygen concentration experiments were conducted with crickets as live subjects and were designed to analyze the transfer of oxygen through the mesh. The team ran tests to investigate additional factors including coating application and quality, the influence of the mesh substrate material on hydrophobic and coating properties, and mesh sizing influence.

Testing indicates that there is sufficient oxygen transfer for small animals to survive. The enclosure can be submerged to approximately four centimeters before failure. This project demonstrates the feasibility of maintaining breathable air using a hydrophobic mesh enclosure and creates the opportunity for further investigation into possible uses of this technology.

Publication Date



Superhydrophobic, Submersible, Air, 3D Printing


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Hooman V. Tafreshi

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Underwater Ant House