Scalable Slippery Omniphobic Covalently Attached Liquid Coatings for Flow Fouling Reduction

Hanyang Zhao, Siavash Khodakarami, Chirag Anand Deshpande, Jingcheng Ma, Qiyuan Wu, Soumyadip Sett, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fouling and accretion have negative impacts on a plethora of processes. To mitigate heterogeneous nucleation of a foulant, lowering the surface energy and reducing surface roughness are desired. Here, we develop a multilayer coating to mitigate solution-based heterogeneous fouling for internal flows. The first layer is a sol-gel silicon dioxide (SiO2) coating, which acts as a corrosion barrier, creates the surface chemistry needed for covalent bonding of the slippery omniphobic covalently attached liquid (SOCAL), and ensures an atomically smooth (<1 nm) interface. The second layer bonded to SiO2 is SOCAL, which further reduces the nucleation rate due to its low surface energy (<12 mJ/m2). The presence of a consistent sol-gel SiO2 base coating to bind to the SOCAL enables application to various metallic substrates. The coating is solid, making it more durable when compared to alternative slippery liquid-infused surfaces (LIS) that suffer from lubricant loss. To demonstrate performance and scalability, we apply our coating to the internal walls of aluminum (Al) tubing and test its fouling performance in a flow-fouling setup with single-phase flow of synthetic seawater. The seawater consists of saturated calcium sulfide (CaSO4), and fouling is characterized in both laminar and turbulent flow regimes (Reynolds numbers 1030 to 9300). Our coating demonstrated a reduction in salt scale fouling by 95% when compared to uncoated Al tubes. Furthermore, we show our coating to withstand turbulent flow conditions, mechanical abrasion loading, and corrosive environments for durations much longer than LIS. Our work demonstrates a coating methodology applicable to a variety of metal substrates and internal passages to achieve antifouling in single-phase flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38666-38679
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 18 2021


  • fouling
  • heat exchanger
  • laminar
  • nucleation
  • scaling
  • sol-gel
  • turbulent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Scalable Slippery Omniphobic Covalently Attached Liquid Coatings for Flow Fouling Reduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this