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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



superhydrophobic surfaces, slip, vortex shedding, wakes, bluff bodies


Superhydrophobic surfaces are a class of surfaces that have a microscale roughness imposed on an already hydrophobic surface, akin to a lotus leaf. These surfaces have been shown to produce significant drag reduction for both laminar and turbulent flows of water through large and small-scale channels. The goal of this thesis was to explore how these surfaces alter the vortex shedding dynamics of a cylindrical body when coated on its surface, thus leading to an alteration in drag and lift on these surfaces. A cylindrical body was chosen as it is a very nice representative bluff body and sets the stage for predicting the behavior of hydrofoils and other bluff bodies under flow with a slip boundary condition. In this work, a series of experiments were performed which investigated the effect of superhydrophobic-induced slip on the flow past a circular cylinder. In these experiments, circular cylinders were coated with a series of superhydrophobic surfaces fabricated from PDMS with well-defined micron-sized patterns of surface roughness or random slip surfaces fabricated by sanding Teflon cylinders or spray painting superhydrophobic paint on a smooth cylinder. The presence of the superhydrophobic surface was found to have a significant effect on the vortex shedding dynamics in the wake of the circular cylinder. When compared to a smooth, no-slip cylinder, cylinders coated with superhydrophobic surfaces were found to delay the onset of vortex shedding and increase the length of the recirculation region in the wake of the cylinder. For superhydrophobic surfaces with ridges aligned in the flow direction the separation point was found to move further upstream towards the front stagnation point of the cylinder and the vortex shedding frequency was found to increase. For superhydrophobic surfaces with ridges running normal to the flow direction, the separation point and shedding frequency trends were reversed. The vortices shed from these surfaces were found to be weaker and less interlaced leading to reduced circulation and lift forces on these cylinders. The effect of slip on bluff bodies and separating flow was dealt with in detail in this thesis and the results could be used to predict the impact of these surfaces on the flow past hydrofoils which combine skin friction dominated flow with separating flow.

First Advisor

Jonathan P. Rothstein