On May 17/18 Rohit and I gave invited talks at the inaugural Surface Wettability Effects on Phase Change Phenomena (SWEP) workshop in Brighton. This was organised by Joel De Coninck, our first Visiting Scientist of the Programme, and Marco Marengo who are both experts in this field – their hope is that this workshop will become a yearly fixture. They opened the workshop by reminding the audience of the incredible effects that wettability can have: adding just one layer of molecules to the top of a surface can completely change the shape of mm-sized drops that sit on top of them, which is the equivalent in scale of ants being able to change the shape of mountains (apologies for the poor quality photo)!
Rohit and I gave the last and first talks, respectively, with Rohit impressing the audience with his work on acoustofluidics whilst I spoke about 3 canonical problems involving kinetic effects in interfacial flows, including work with Mykyta (drop impact), Anirudh (drop evaporation) and Duncan.
There were many interesting presentations on a wide range of phase change phenomena. I particularly enjoyed Carlo Antonini‘s talk “License to Freeze” which reviewed methods for controlling ice formation on surfaces (including an inverse Leidenfrost effect, where evaporation occurs from the underlying substrate rather than the impacting drop drop, which we could potentially simulate) and Daniel Attinger‘s talk on “What is the Optimum Wettability of a Pool Boiling Heater?”, which carefully explained the experimental and theoretical challenges of understanding the subtle interplay between wettability, phase change and heat transfer driven by bubble formation at a (complex) solid surface.
All in all the workshop was very enjoyable and the level of scientific discussion was high (i.e. Rohit and I got grilled!) – I would recommend it to our group members in future years.