Researchers at MIT, Cambridge, Mass., have found that lubricated, nano-textured surfaces improved performance of condensers in power and desalination plants. The research is described in a paper published online in the journal ACS Nano.
The key to the improved hydrophobic surface is a combination of microscopic patterning — a surface covered with tiny bumps or posts just 10 mm (millionths of a meter) across, about the size of a red blood cell — and a coating of a lubricant such as oil. The researchers found that the tiny spaces between the posts hold the oil in place through capillary action. MIT released a brief video demonstrating the findings.