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John O | February 2019

U.K. university receives grant funding to continue study into controlling liquid droplets

By Josh Perry, Editor


Nottingham (U.K.) Trent University (NTU) has received £700,00 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to work with the Smart Materials and Surfaces Laboratory at Northumbria University (Newcastle, U.K.) on a process called dynamic dewetting, which uses electrical voltages to force liquid droplets into specific shapes before receding.


The research will explore how liquids interact with surfaces. (Wikimedia Commons)


According to a report from NTU, the collaboration will seek to build on previous research on dewetting, which will give a greater understanding pf how liquids behave and interact with surfaces. The initial research was published in 2016.


Rather than spreading out to form a film, as liquid normally does when interacting with a surface, the voltage forces the liquid into non-naturally-occurring shapes, including triangles, squares, or stars, or to detach and reattach droplets.


“Northumbria’s Smart Materials and Surfaces Laboratory is at the forefront of international research into how liquids behave and interact with surfaces,” the report indicated. “The group researches how surfaces with particular properties, or with properties that can be changed by external forces, can shape liquids. They also undertake research into how surfaces can reduce drag and be made either super-repellent or super-slippery.”


For an example of the research conducted at the laboratory, read https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7390.

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