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Prof. Zhong CHEN
School of Materials Engineering
Nanyang Technological University


Water-repellent coatings have a number of engineering applications, including easy-cleaning, anti-corrosion, and anti-icing. In this talk, I will begin with the materials science fundamentals on water repellence, and then explain how these fundamental principles are applied to the development of water-repellent and icephobic coatings. Specific examples will be given for coatings on composites and aluminum alloys, two important classes of industrial materials. Practically useful coatings have to meet manifold requirements including mechanical durability, low cost (non-reliance on expensive equipment and can be easily processed), scalability (large quantity for large area), and applicability to complex shapes, etc. These requirements can be taken into consideration at the coating formulation stage. Future outlooks on water-repellent coatings will be shared. Prof. Chen will also take the chance to share a reflection on his personal research journey so far, using the well quoted “connecting dots” by Steve Jobs.


Prof. Chen obtained his PhD in 1997 at the University of Reading, U.K. After completing the study, he joined the newly established Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, a national research institute funded by Singapore government. In March 2000, he moved to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as an Assistant Professor, and has since been promoted to Associate Professor and Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. Prof. Chen’s research interests include 1) Surface Engineering, Thin Films & Nanostructured Materials, and 2) Mechanical Behaviour of Materials. He is an author of over 350 peer-reviewed journal papers, 5 book chapters and 5 granted patents. According to Google Scholar, his journal articles have received over 13,000 citations with the h-index of 58. Since joining NTU, Prof. Chen has graduated 30 PhD and 5 MEng students. Prof. Chen has served as an editor / editorial board member for 8 academic journals. He has also served as a reviewer for more than 70 academic journals and a number of research funding agencies including the European Research Council.


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