Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) flow induced in dielectric fluids by charge injection is capable of producing convective instabilities accompanied by surface deformation of fluids. In our research, we investigate the governing liquid properties such as surface tension, viscosity, and layer thickness. The potential application of the EHD flow as an air-wave-type EHD pump could be explored further by analysis of pumping performance and the processing conditions. Mohcen and Amir are currently working on further exploring this project.
In the North American region, harsh winters cause many difficulties for transportation and drivers. The main problem is ice accumulation on the surfaces of cameras and sensors of vehicles used in this area. In order to have a targeted solution, it is basically needed to investigate the roots and mechanisms involved in ice/snow accumulation. Behrouz is working on this subject in a project defined by Ford Motor Company to identify the causes and to propose solutions.
SURFACE MODIFICATION FOR ICE FRICTION
Ice accumulation has many drawbacks in everyday life, from which, its slippery nature makes it difficult to handle in cold winters. Each year, many people get injured from slipping on black ice and frozen walkways. Navid is performing his research on implementing novel nanocomposites in order to enhance the grip of a surface to the ice surface, regardless of the weight of the object. His findings would be utilized to increase the friction of polymer surfaces on ice, which could be extended to use in vehicle tire, as well. In his preliminary results, he demonstrated that the grip on the novel nanocomposite is significantly enhanced.
ICE SHEDDING ON PHOTOVOLTAIC SURFACES
Photovoltaic cells are useful means of harvesting solar energy as the cleanest known to us. However, there are several factors exist which limit their efficiency. Either in desert areas or in cold climates. The deposition of any particles in a high volume reduces the efficiency of the solar cells by preventing light photons reach to the cells. Snow accumulation is one of the major reasons that hinder the utilization of solar cells in a large scale. In order to have an efficient cleaning method, Behrouz and Navid are working on surface modifications and coatings which shed the snow and iced snow in winters in order to have a labor-free surface cleaning.
Electrospraying is a method of deposition of different materials in a selective thickness and chemical composition. In this method, a needle gets high voltage from a power source and applies it toward the grounding surface. Meanwhile, the syringe is simultaneously connected to a syringe pump which injects a controlled flow of a liquid/suspension/colloid. The injected medium gets atomized and transforms to a spray. The spray itself contains a large number of highly charged particles that are pushed toward the grounding electrode. Upon impact, the tiny particles get stuck to the surface and form a coating that could have uncountable applications. Currently, Amir and Mohcen are working on this project.