When objects become small, the force of gravity gives way to surface tension. Insects walk on water. Diving beetles breathe without the need for gills. Desert beetles drink from the fog. Lotus leaves stay dry and stay clean. Galling aphids roll away their sticky liquid waste. And the Nepenthes Pitcher Plant eats ants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nature knows how to manipulate water. It does so by engineering surfaces. In this talk, I will give an overview of how Nature inspires diverse strategies to manipulate droplets and liquids to create super-water repellent, super-slippery, low friction and drag reducing surfaces. I will show how this allows solid-liquid interfacial interactions to be understood and the wetting of surfaces to be manipulated.
Glen was recently appointed as Professor of Interfacial Science & Engineering and Director of Chemical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh and is a member of the Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids. He was previously Pro Vice Chancellor (REF) and Executive Dean of Engineering & Environment at Northumbria University. His research is on how liquids interact with solid surfaces - whether it be at the small scale of microfluidics or the large scale of flow across surfaces. This encompasses droplet-surface interactions and nature-inspired surface engineering. His research has been extensively supported by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and he has published over 200 refereed journal papers. Glen is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Institute of Physics (IoP), the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (SMIEEE).