Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Hooman V. Tafreshi


Interaction of a liquid droplet and a fiber or layer of fibers is ubiquitous in nature and in a variety of industrial applications. It plays a crucial role in fog harvesting, coalescence filtration, membrane desalination, self-cleaning and fiber based microfluidics, among many others. This work presents a quantitative investigation on the interactions of a droplet with a fiber or layers of fibers. More precisely, the present work is focused on 1) predicting the effects of fiber’s size and material on its ability to withhold a droplet against external forces and on the liquid residue left on the fiber after the droplet detachment, 2) predicting the outcome of two fibers competing to attract the same droplet, and 3) predicting the wetting stability of a droplet deposited on a layer of electrospun fibers. This work is comprised of series of computational and experimental studies for mutual validation and/or calibration. The simulations were conducted using the Surface Evolver code and the experiments were devised using a ferrofluid and a magnet.

We also investigated the drag reduction performance of fibrous coatings because of its close connection with droplet-fiber interaction. We started by studying the drag reduction performance of a superhydrophobic granular coating because of its geometrical simplicity. We modeled the flow of water over the granular coating and studied the effects of hydrostatic pressure and microstructural properties on the drag reduction performance of the coating. We then examined the drag reduction performance of a lubricant infused surface with trapped air made of layers of parallel fibers (FLISTA). A mathematical model was developed to predict the shape of the water-lubricant interface and lubricant-air interface under a given hydrostatic pressure. This information was used to solve the flow field over the coating in a Couette configuration to find the effects of hydrostatic pressure and microstructural properties of the coating on its drag reduction performance.


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