These coatings would, for example, have a use in maintaining the efficiency of solar panels, act as anti-icing agents for the aerospace industry, find use in heat exchanges, maintain efficiency of wind turbines, and prevent pixilation and icing on satellite dishes and other communication systems. They could also be used to remove the need for glass cleaning on tall structures like the Shard in London. In addition, the material-by-design approach offers routes to new fire retardants, enhanced corrosion
protection, new water management techniques by preventing the build-up of ‘fatbergs’ in sewage systems and could even find applications for sensors in the emerging self-drive car market. While Alan’s work sees him assist in the creation of technologies and products based on relating the nanoscale structure to macroscale performance, there is also a need to set up new supply chains and to create markets and standards for the new products.
A first paper from the Innovation Centre has already been published in relation to this work, and two projects are already in place with one PhD student from South Bank University assisting and another student set to follow suit in September.
With a multitude of potential applications, Alan’s work looks set to revolutionise numerous industries and commercial settings.
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