Understanding Fluids at the Nanoscale

Consider the following:

  • About half of the world’s electricity is produced through power plants that operate on a steam cycle.  Imagine increasing the efficiency of an entire power plant by “nano-roughening” the condenser surface to alter, in a very good way, the steam condensation mechanism.
  • The buildup of frost and ice on surfaces of airplane wings, ships, offshore oil platforms, or electrical cables is a major safety risk.  Imagine the benefit of coatings that inhibit such activity.

Konrad Rykaczewski, assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, and his colleagues are using new insights into microscale mechanisms underlying thermofluidic and interfacial phenomena to design solutions which enhance the macroscale performance of a variety of industrial systems.

A critical aspect of this work is using observations at the nanoscale to understand how different fluids nucleate and behave on novel nano-engineered surfaces.  Konrad and his team are doing this with cutting edge investigative techniques involving environmental SEM and cold-stage equipped Focused Ion Beam.

Konrad is an active user of the LeRoy Eyring Center and is looking forward to further research advances with the help of our new Titan ETEM.

Here are some examples of his team's work:



For more information: