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April 25, 2022 "Learning from Trees and Ice Cubes: Nature-Inspired Water and Energy Harvesting"

  • 4:00 p.m.
  • Room: 100 Hancock Hall
  • Dr. Jonathan Boreyko, Associate Professor and John R. Jones III Fellow, Department of
  • Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech.
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Olivier Coutier-Delgosha

Abstract: This talk will summarize four lessons on harvesting water and energy that were inspired bytrees and ice. First, we demonstrate that the transpiration cycle of plants can be reproduced with ultra-tall synthetic trees for water and energy harvesting applications. Second, we mimic the linear needle arrays of coastal redwoods by developing a “Fog Harp” that harvests at least three times more water compared to the nets currently in use. Third, we show that a substrate featuring frost-tipped pillars can trap freezing rain atop the pillars in a low-adhesion air-trapping state. Finally, by placing ice cubes on a superheated surface, we reveal that the boiling curve gets dramatically stretched for enhanced phase-change heat transfer.

Bio: Dr. Jonathan Boreyko is an Associate Professor and John R. Jones III Fellow at Virginia Tech in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research lies at the intersection of fluid mechanics, phase-change heat transfer, and materials science and has been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. He has over 60 publications which have been cited over 4,000 times. Recent awards received by Dr. Boreyko include the NSF CAREER Award, the Air Force YIP Award, the ASEE Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award, and the ASME ICNMM Outstanding Early Career Award. His children enjoy climbing trees and measuring how long it takes for ice to melt.