Justin Kleingartner

Research Summary

Surfaces and interfaces pervade our world and understanding the phenomena that occur at them is imperative for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, such as self-cleaning, drag reduction, anti-fogging and liquid-liquid separation. My research focuses on investigating the influence of physical and chemical parameters on surface wettability and characterizing interfacial phenomena in a range of solid-liquid systems. In particular, I have extended a characterization technique (dynamic tensiometry) to provide further insight into the wetting properties of liquid-repellent surfaces, and demonstrated how a comprehensive understanding of wetting and tensiometry can be used to quantify the kinetics of surface reconstruction at switchable polymer interfaces.

My current work is focused along several thrusts. We are working with collaborators at Edwards Air Force Base to investigate the optimal topography and surface coating of textured metals for use in liquid-repellant shaft seals for liquid-fuel rocket engines. We are also applying our understanding of dynamic tensiometry to tackle issues of contact line pinning in low voltage electrowetting, which has applications in fiber-optic switches and electronic displays. In a final collaboration with researchers in Chile, we are applying our expertise in surface science to optimize the geometric and surface chemistry of fog collection meshes, which are used to supply domestic water in barren, arid regions of the Atacama Desert. All of these works strive to utilize our fundamental understanding of interfacial phenomena to tackle issues of practical concern.