Materials & Processes, Energy & Construction

Nanomaterials for Water and Energy

Guided by thermodynamics we develop passive, energy saving approaches that exploit surface treatment to prevent unfavorable contamination for water, energy and transportation.

Our research intersects the multidisciplinary fields of energy, surface science and engineering, and thermofluidics, and we investigate experimentally how surfaces and bulk material properties can be engineered to beneficially interact with micro/nano-scale and interfacial transport phenomena. Armed with this new understanding, we create novel materials and processes facilitating the development of transformative nanotechnologies for applications at the water-energy nexus and in healthcare. To achieve these goals, we employ state-of-the-art micro/nanofabrication techniques, interfacial optical methods, and theoretical modeling capabilities to gain mechanistic insight into complex thermodynamic and transport processes.

A current focus area of ours is on crystallization fouling, a process where scale forms on surfaces, is pervasive in nature and technology, negatively impacting the energy conversion and water treatment industries. Despite efforts, rationally designed materials that resist crystallization fouling without the use of active methods like antiscalant additives remain elusive. We aim to develop an integrated knowledge-base for how engineered surfaces can beneficially interact with interfacial transport phenomena in order to significantly advance antiscalant surfaces. Connected to this are cutting edge materials fabrication techniques and considerations to the development of surfaces for future applications.


Lab for Multiphase Thermofluidics and Surface Nanoengineering Thomas M. Schutzius+41 44 632 46 04thomschu@ethz.ch