Prof. Zuankai Wang

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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 received his B.S. degree from Jilin University in 2000, M.S. degree from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2003, and Ph.D. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008. After a one-year postdoctoral training at Columbia University, he joined the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) as Assistant Professor in 2009 and was promoted to Chair Professor in 2021. He was the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering from 2019 to 2022 and the founding Deputy Director of Research Centre for Nature-Inspired Engineering from 2021 to 2022 at CityU. He is currently the Executive Editor-in-Chief of Droplet journal (Wiley), and Associate Editor and Advisory Board Member for ten journals (Langmuir, Advanced Engineering Materials, iScience, Journal of Bionic Engineering and others).

Professor Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences, Croucher Senior Research Fellow (2023), RGC Senior Research Fellow (2022), Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-field) recognized by Clarivate (2022), Fellow of the International Society of Bionic Engineering, 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 and Technology), BOCHK Science and Technology Innovation Prize (2022), Green Tech Award (2021), Xplorer Prize (2020), Hall of Fame (Advanced Engineering Materials, 2019), 35th World Cultural Council Special Recognition Award (2018).

Nature-inspired surface for water-energy nexus

Abstract: The recent outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recalls the paramount importance of harmonious co-existence between nature and humans. This talk focuses on how to seek nature’s principles and inspirations to guide the design and regulation of surface topological structures for addressing the grand challenges in the water-energy nexus. First, I will answer three important historical questions that underpin surface science and engineering, i.e., what’s the shortest contact time on superhydrophobic surfaces, how to achieve directional liquid flow on superhydrophilic surfaces, and how to achieve superwetting at extremely high surface temperatures? In the field of applied research, I will discuss how to fabricate wear-resistant superhydrophobic coatings on a large scale, as well as explore diverse applications in areas such as thermal cooling (complete suppression of the Leidenfrost effect observed in 1756), water harvesting, and energy harvesting.