Methods to Resist Shear- and Gravity-Driven Drainage of Liquid-Infused Surfaces

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 15-3089-1


Researchers at Princeton University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have proposed an improvement to the current design and fabrication of liquid-infused surfaces.


Rough or patterned surfaces, when chemically treated and infused with a lubricating, superhydrophobic liquid, have been shown to repel liquid. The unique properties of liquid-infused surfaces include omniphobicity, resistance to biofouling, promotion of surface condensation, inhibition of icing, and reduction of drag. However, infused surfaces may lose their novel properties if the imbibed liquid film drains from the surface and exposes the underlying roughness. If such a surface is subject to external flow, the shear induced by the outer phase can drain the lubricating layer, causing the surfaces to lose their ability to repel liquid. In addition, the high density of lubricating liquids means that this loss can be driven by gravity alone. Current designs for lubricant-infused surfaces have not involved guidelines for resisting lubricant drainage by shear and gravity.


This innovation describes four design techniques, two structural and two chemical, to make liquid-infused surfaces more resistant to gravity- and shear-induced drainage. If properly employed, the lubricating film will be retained in the substrates, ensuring that the surfaces retain their novel properties.         



•       Liquid-infused surfaces , for:

1.       Medical devices

2.       Oil recovery

3.       Engine and related lubrication

4.       Food packaging

5.       Personal care products

6.       Ice removal



•       Resistance to shear- and gravity-drainage

•       Long lifetime

•       Easy to fabricate

•       Applicable to a wide range of materials


The Faculty Inventor


Howard A. Stone, Donald R. Dixon and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Chair

Howard Stone is the Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. His research has been concerned with a variety of fundamental problems in fluid motions dominated by viscosity, so-called low Reynolds number flows, and has frequently featured a combination of theory, computer simulation and modeling, and experiments to provide a quantitative understanding of the flow phenomenon under investigation. Prof. Stone is the recipient of the most prestigious fluid mechanics prize, the Batchelor Prize 2008, for the best research in fluid mechanics in the last ten years. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.



Marcus Hultmark, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Professor Hultmark received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2011 after receiving the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship in 2010 – the highest honor awarded by the graduate school. His research interests include a variety of problems related to turbulent flows, with focus on transport phenomena, such as heat and mass transfer as well as drag reduction. An important part of his research program is development and evaluation of new sensing techniques to investigate these phenomena with high accuracy.



Intellectual Property & Development status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.




Michael R. Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•

Xin (Shane) Peng

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579•



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
Senior Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Jason Wexler
Ian Jacobi
Howard Stone
Marcus Hultmark