Durable ZnO Nanorod and Polymer Composite Surface with Controllable Wettability

Presenter: Hanchen Huang

Research Category: Engineering and Technology
Student Type: Graduate
Award Winner Category: Best Poster Presentation

This work advances the field of surface science in two areas. The first is the use of a nanostructured composite as a method for controlling the self-cleaning ability of a surface. Creating self-cleaning surfaces, based on the Lotus plant, has been an area of interest for decades, and has many applications, such as glass, vehicles, and clothing that remain free of dirt. The second advance is in the strengthening of nanostructures on a surface to make them durable.This strengthening is important as the nanostructures often easily break off with abrasion. For best performance and longevity, self-cleaning surfaces need to also be durable. We use Zinc Oxide as the nanostructure material and coat it with a polymer to make a composite, somewhat like fiberglass. The composite structure is very durable and by controlling the amount and type of polymer we are able to control the self-cleaning ability of the surface.