Smart Surfaces for Anti-Scaling

Scaling and mineral deposits that occur due to dissolved materials in water is a problem in many industrial applications. How to remove this scaling without the use of harsh chemicals or methods to prevent it is crucial importance to both the environment and the economy. Studying scaling and its mitigation with new smart substrates gives us scientific insight that allows many technological advances. 

In recent work we have shown that on slippery-liquid like surfaces we can suppress the crystallization of saline droplets and can also be used in anti-fouling situations. We therefore expect these surfaces thus show excellent promise as anti-scaling/controlled scaling surfaces.

In this PhD you will investigate how different types of smooth surface coating can affect the evaporation rate of the droplets, the deposition of residual materials, and the relative adhesion of the remaining deposits. You will then apply this knowledge to create scaling resistant surfaces.

It is expected that the applicant will have a good degree in Engineering or Physics with a good experimental background.   We are particularly interested to hear from applicants with experience in surfaces, fluids and/or droplet manipulation.

The student will be part of the Wetting, Interfacial Sciences and Engineering Group within the Institute for Multiscale Thermofliuds. You will join a vibrant community of PhD students, postdoctoral research associates and academics working in various aspects of surfaces and wetting.

Prof Glen McHale will also be a member of the supervision team for this project.

Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: