Nature-Inspired Surfaces: Fundamentals and Applications

PSE Division Seminars are open to all PSE Division students.



A defining feature of living organisms lies in their efficient use of surfaces to dynamically interface with environments for a continuous flux and exchange of water, energy, heat, and information. The ubiquity and diversity of these elegant natural surfaces construct the Surface of Things (SOT), reminiscence of Internet of Things (IOT) which has received vast attention and widely penetrated into our daily life. Despite extensive progress, particularly triggered by learning from nature, the power and magic of natural surfaces evade our deep scrutiny, and it also appears challenging to design, manufacture and adopt artificial SOTs that exhibit high performances as their natural counterparts. The challenges originate from the complexity in adopting one surface design to resolve many seemingly contradictory properties to yield optimized functions for many practical applications, especially in harsh environments. 

In this talk, I will reveal intriguing property-function relationships on natural surfaces and then design, manufacture nature-inspired SOT with tailored complementary properties in topography, wetting, thermal/electrical conductivity, stiffness to overcome the inherent tradeoff otherwise associated with homogeneous design for water, energy, environment and healthcare applications.



Prof. Zuankai Wang is currently Chair Professor of Nature-Inspired Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and concurrently serves as Associate Vice President (Research & Innovation).

Professor Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the International Society of Bionic Engineering (ISBE), Croucher Senior Research Fellow (2023), RGC Senior Research Fellow (2022), Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-field) recognized by Clarivate (2022), and Changjiang Chair Professor conferred by Ministry of Education of China (2016). His work has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and two inventions have won the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva Gold Medal and Gold Medal with Congratulations of Jury, respectively. He has received many awards including the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2023 (Engineering & Technology), Green Tech Award (2021), Xplorer Prize (2020), Hall of Fame (Advanced Engineering Materials, 2019), 35th World Cultural Council Special Recognition Award (2018), President's Lectureship (2020, 2018), Outstanding Research Award (Senior, 2017), President's Award at CityU (2017, 2016).


Professor Zuankai Wang

Chair Professor of Nature-Inspired Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

Event Quick Information

22 Apr, 2024
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Lecture Hall between Bldg. 2 and 3