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The University of Southampton

Research project: Structured Surfaces to Trap Bubbles and Reduce Drag and Friction

Currently Active: 

This project uses a novel method to structure a metal surface with dimples from the micro to nano scale, after which it can be chemically modified to make it hydrophobic.

When the surfaces are submersed in water or a drop is placed on it, each cavity traps a bubble. When the dimples are nano sized the bubbles are surprisingly stable and are immobilised within the dimple. If larger micro sized dimples are made the bubbles dissolve within a matter of hours, so an active system to reintroduce and retain gas is being developed.

Both nano and micro scale dimples show promise for drag and friction reduction as the passing water can ‘slip’ over the bubbles surface.

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

Conferences and events associated with this project:

trapped in nano sized dimples. The blue layer is the profile of the bubble, the grey is the dimple.
A 3D image of bubbles
Cross section of dimple and bubble
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