Adam J. Meuler
NRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Edwards Air Force Base/ MIT.
PhD- Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2009
BS- Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, 2002
Interactions between surfaces play a crucial role in a wide range of technologies. We are striving to improve the fundamental understanding and performance of surfaces in two such areas: ice accretion/adhesion and oil wettability. The accretion and adhesion of ice to surfaces causes operational problems for modern technologies such as airplanes, ships, telecommunications equipment, and power lines. Susceptibility to wetting by low surface tension oils leads to undesirable phenomena such as the smudging of touchscreens and the leaking of fuel in rocket engines. In conjunction with our collaborators at Edwards Air Force Base, we are pursuing fundamental investigations aimed at elucidating how substrate properties such as roughness/texture and surface energy influence ice accretion/adhesion and oil wettability/adhesion. We are then using this knowledge to design practical coatings and/or surface textures to alleviate problems associated with icing and oil wetting. Our recently accepted paper entitled "Relationships between Water Wettability and Ice Adhesion" (ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces) describes our initial foray into the ice adhesion arena. We reported a strong relationship between ice adhesion strength and the receding water contact angle, and found that coating flat steel discs with polymer nanocomposites containing the low surface energy additive fluorodecyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) reduced the ice adhesion strength by more than a factor of 4.