Saline droplet evaporation for engineering applications

Evaporating arrays of droplets have attracted a lot of attention for their potential applications in areas such as microfluidics and surface patterning. When many droplets evaporate near each other, in an array, their individual local environments begin to interact and change the evaporation rates of their neighboring droplets.  This means that as the droplet arrays evaporate it is possible to create specific evaporation patterns. These patterns can be harnessed for the fabrication of smart coatings, can be used to print electronic devices, or used in micro/nanostructured materials.

Understanding the intricate mechanisms of droplet evaporation in arrays requires consideration of parameters like droplet size, surface properties, ambient conditions, and solute concentration. In recent work we have shown that on slippery liquid-like surfaces we can suppress the crystallization of the salt and use the concentration to dictate evaporation rates. When combined with droplet arrays, this will yield some interesting and new science regarding the control of array evaporation. 

In this PhD you will investigate how the initial concentration of salt in saline droplets can affect the nature of the evaporation pattern formed in an array of droplets. You will then investigate how by changing the initial droplet concentration and the shape of the array, it might be possible to create well defined evaporation patterns. You will then investigate their uses in applications such as surface design, 3D printing or droplet microfluidics. 

It is expected that the applicant will have a good degree in Engineering or Physics with a good experimental background.   We are particularly interested to hear from applicants with experience in surfaces, fluids and/or droplet manipulation.

The student will be part of the Wetting, Interfacial Sciences and Engineering Group within the Institute for Multiscale Thermofliuds. You will join a vibrant community of PhD students, postdoctoral research associates and academics working in various aspects of surfaces and wetting.

This project will also be supervised by Prof Glen McHale.

Further Information: 

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Friday, July 5, 2024

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: