Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Mohamed Gad-el-Hak Jr.


Surfaces with static contact angle greater than 150 degrees are typically classified as superhydrophobic. Such coatings have been inspired by the lotus leaf. As water flows over a superhydrophobic surface, "slip effect" is produced resulting in a reduction in the skin-friction drag exerted on the surface. Slip flow is caused by the entrapment of a layer of air between water and the surface. Superhydrophobicity could be utilized to design surfaces for applications such as energy conservation, noise reduction, laminar-to-turbulent-transition delay, and mixing enhancement. A popular method of manufacturing a superhydrophobic surface is microfabrication in which well-designed microgrooves and/or poles are placed on a surface in a regular configuration. This method is a costly process and cannot easily be applied to large-scale objects with arbitrary shapes. In this work, we fabricated and characterized simpler low-cost superhydrophobic coatings based on controlling the volume of entrapped air in order to enhance durability (longevity) and the properties of the coating bringing the technology closer to large-scale submerged bodies such as submarines and ships. Two different low-cost fabricating techniques have been utilized: (i) random deposition of hydrophobic aerogel microparticles; and (ii) deposition of hydrophobic polymer micro- and nanofibers using DC-biased AC-electrospinning. The present study is aimed at providing experimental, numerical, and analytical models to characterize the superhydrophobicity and longevity of the coatings depending on the morphology of the surfaces and the concentration of the hydrophobic materials. The surface's micro/nanostructure were observed by field emission scanning electron microscopy. The degree of hydrophobicity of the coatings was estimated using drag-reduction and contact-angle measurements using a rheometer and a goniometer respectively. Furthermore, We have advanced and calibrated a novel optical technique to noninvasively measure the longevity of submerged superhydrophobic coatings subjected to different environmental conditions. We have also modeled the performance of superhydrophobic surfaces comprised of randomly distributed roughness. The numerical simulations are aimed at improving our understanding of the drag-reduction effect and the stability of the air–water interface against pressure in terms of the microstructure parameters. Moreover, we have experimentally characterized the terminal pressure (i.e. the pressure at which the air–water interface completely fails) of aerogel coatings with different morphologies.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

Included in

Engineering Commons