Understanding the wetting behavior of a surface is important to many industries and applications, such as coatings, corrosion protection and even detergency (removal of oils from a surface). This is challenging as it is dependent on the nature of the solid and the actual liquid that is in contact with it. This has been widely studied for polymer surfaces exposed to air and a liquid drop laid on the surface by measuring the contact between the drop and the surface. On the other hand, when the solid is underwater this behavior changes, furthermore, if surfactants and salts are added to the water, the wetting behavior of an oil on the surface can be completely shifted depending upon the concentrations of each species. However, this phenomenon is still not fully understood and only limited studies exist. Therefore, the goal of this project will be the measurement of contact angles of oils (Toluene, cyclohexane) on different solids (metals, glass, polymers) underwater in the presence and absence of surfactants at different concentrations with the purpose of generating a wettability map as a function of the concentrations of the different species. This data will advance the understanding of the wetting behavior of a system and allow to tune its properties to the desired value. Candidates will be interviewed by PhD candidate in charge of the project.
We expect the student prepare solutions of different surfactant systems and measure the underwater contact angle by using an instrument called Goniometer to take pictures of the formed drop and then process those image with an in-house software to get actual value. A minimum of 4 surfaces are expected to be studied for a total of 15 formulations each (oil/water/surfactant combinations). At the end, the student should plot the results on a specified plot to comparatively show the changes in wetting behavior for each system tested.
At least 2nd Year, Experienced with the Chemistry Lab as preparation of solutions might be required. Also needs to be very responsible in the handling of delicate and small equipment (Glass and Needles) and during the actual measurements as accuracy is required.
Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
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