Tue, 20 September, 2022
NSIRC Student Ana Antelava has passed her PhD with flying colours. Her doctorate was sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) and awarded by London South Bank University (LSBU).
Ana’s PhD topic was titled, ‘Establishing the role of surface chemistry and topography in determining wettability and the development of a novel assessment methodology for repellent surfaces.’
The research conducted at TWI ltd in Cambridge, UK, involved a review of surface treatments and their influence on solid-liquid interaction, by measuring the static, as well as dynamic contact angles, with a range of polar and non-polar probe liquids.
During the study, Ana examined 11 fluorinated and non-fluorinated coating systems, assessing their ability to promote repellence on smooth surfaces, substrates grit blasted to micro-level roughness/topography, surfaces with nano-scale and dual-scale topography.
To judge the impact of nano-scale and dual-scale roughness on repellence, the functionalised silica nanoparticles were incorporated into the coating system to build up the desired nano-scale topography. This approach helped decouple the effects of surface roughness from surface chemistry on wetting/non-wetting behaviour.
The dedication, rigour and intelligence Ana brought to her project made clear from the earliest days of the project that it would be success.
Dr Alan Taylor
Through the results, Ana's research was able to demonstrated that a high static contact angle with a probe liquid does not guarantee adhesive behaviour.
Industries such as marine, aerospace, and energy will find that Ana's work provides an assessment of a number of commercially available low energy coatings.
Central to her work is the development of a novel approach to measuring wettability, which will help to classify surfaces according to their ability to repel various liquids, not only in terms of traditional static contact angles, but importantly in terms of film forming behaviour.
Ana Antelava said, “NSIRC is a great place for undertaking a PhD programme. It allowed me to conduct research in an industrial setting, gain industrial exposure and learn from experts at TWI”.
She added, “Everyone was very helpful and supported me through out four years of my PhD. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my industrial supervisor Dr Alan Taylor for sharing his expertise on repellence, and providing me with the research guidance and mentorship that allowed me to be successful in this PhD work. Also, I would like to thank Lloyd’s Register Foundation for providing financial sponsorship for this research project”.
During her PhD, Ana received industrial supervision from TWI Technology Fellow Dr Alan Taylor, and TWI Principle Porject Leader Dr Anna Wojdyla-Cieslak (herself an Alumna of NSIRC). Academic Supervision for her PhD was provided by Dr Geraldine Durand and Dr Achilleas Constantinou from London South Bank University.
Dr Alan Taylor said, “It is a privilege to guide and mentor researchers at an early stage of their career. The dedication, rigour and intelligence Ana brought to her project made clear from the earliest days of the project that it would be success. Her willing acceptance of new concepts and ideas allowed the development of a new set of tools that we can apply for the benefit of our Industrial Members”.