At the end of the spring 2017 semester, Harika Vakkantula and Alan Uy both successfully defended their Chemical Engineering MS theses. Harika’s thesis Modeling of Thin Films for Self-Cleaning Purposes examined the surface reaction mechanisms responsible for the transition of ALD TiO2 films from superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic under exposure to UV radiation. Her experimental work confirmed this transition for ALD TiO2 deposited using a TDMAT/water precursor system.Alan’s thesis Systems Engineering-Based Model Development: Application to Predictive Simulation of a Net-Zero Home describes his work in creating a numerical simulator that predicts the performance of Team Maryland’s reACT Solar Decathlon house as a function of local weather forecasts and anticipated homeowner energy demands. The model forms the basis of Virtual reACT.
6 December 2017 update: In yesterday’s CHBE department graduate seminar series, the seminar speaker spoke on the design of superomniphobic surfaces. Some of his work on TiO2 surfaces had interesting parallels with Harika’s thesis research – in particular, how the UV radiation-induced hydrophobicity changes can be exploited for sorting and sensing of liquid drops.