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Superhydrophobic surfaces with the right microscopic structures could be the key to reducing friction on marine vessels, as CJ Kim, UCLA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, explained in a recent article in Physics World.

Kim summarized nearly 20 years of superhydrophoic surface research and outlined two key areas should these surfaces be effective on reducing drag on ocean-going vessels – drag reduction large enough to be practical and the maintenance of an air layer between the vessel and the water.

He noted that the knowledge confirmed for laminar flows has been instrumental to explore the superhydrophobic effect in turbulent flows.

Recently, Kim’s research group has been conducting open water tests with superhydrophobic surfaces on the underside of a boat. The group is excited about preliminary results and what it could mean for future ships.

To read the Physics World article, click here.