From December 2019 to February 2020, Dr Gan will be visiting Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, as a part of his sabbatical leave. He will be working with Professor Dominic Vella on bio-inspired structure design for spontaneous directional liquid transport, a research project funded by Endeavour Executive Leadership Awards.
Project background: Harvesting water from atmospheric humidity is a promising solution for addressing freshwater scarcity across the globe. Such systems require functionalities such as condensing, collecting and transporting of water droplets from humid air. Several lessons learned from studying natural systems, such as plants (e.g., pegged rhizoids in liverworts) and insects (e.g., elytra of Namib Dessert beetles), are now being used for designing components for spontaneous directional transport (SDT) of liquid. Recent innovation has strived to bridge mismatch in mechanics between the engineered and natural worlds. Current design concepts focus on wettability patterns and structural features (e.g., corner flow and edge pinning). However, large-scale applications hinder on many aspects, such as lack of consistent theoretical framework and limited system scalability and durability, demanding better engineering solutions. This project aims to provide better engineering solutions for design and employment of functionalised spontaneous directional liquid transport systems.