student profile: Mr Liam Scarratt


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Functional Coatings with Special Properties

Supervisors: Brian HAWKETT , Chiara NETO

Thesis abstract:

Mimicking nature’s ability to produce superhydrophobic (water repelling) surfaces has been a subject of great scientific interest for the last two decades. These special types of surfaces are due to a combination nanometre scale (there are 1,000,000,000 nanometres in a metre, so very tiny) roughness and a hydrophobic wax layer. Combined, these features trap air beneath water droplets on the surface resulting in the droplet easily rolling off. Superhydrophobic surfaces in nature are used for self-cleaning, protection from bacteria, removing containments, and water collection.
Despite two decades of intense research, fabricated superhydrophobic coatings remain plagued with problems that restrict their practical applications. These include lack of durability, susceptibility to physical damage and high production costs.
To date I have fabricated a new family of superhydrophobic surfaces using Teflon (the coating on non-stick frypans) on shrinkable plastic sheets you would find in any art and craft store. After heating these materials in an everyday oven for only a couple of minutes the Teflon forms tiny nanometre scale wrinkles and becomes superhydrophobic. Despite these coatings being constructed from everyday materials they are as tough as car paint and potentially represent cheap and easy to produce alternatives to current industrial and commercial products.
My current research involves two main directions. I am seeking to optimise the mechanical and thermodynamic stability of my superhydrophobic design, and find a more effective and standardised method for characterising their mechanical properties and hence potential for up scalability. I have written a review of the field for a Textbook section which is centred on this issue of mechanical robustness and application of the technology. I am also working with an Honours student to use these surfaces to fabricate a new type of liquid infused, slippery surface, which shows promise for regenerating surface properties.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Scarratt, L., Steiner, U., Neto, C. (2017). A review on the mechanical and thermodynamic robustness of superhydrophobic surfaces. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 246, 133-152. [More Information]
  • Scarratt, L., Hoatson, B., Wood, E., Hawkett, B., Neto, C. (2016). Durable Superhydrophobic Surfaces via Spontaneous Wrinkling of Teflon AF. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 8(10), 6743-6750. [More Information]

2017

  • Scarratt, L., Steiner, U., Neto, C. (2017). A review on the mechanical and thermodynamic robustness of superhydrophobic surfaces. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 246, 133-152. [More Information]

2016

  • Scarratt, L., Hoatson, B., Wood, E., Hawkett, B., Neto, C. (2016). Durable Superhydrophobic Surfaces via Spontaneous Wrinkling of Teflon AF. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 8(10), 6743-6750. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.