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S. M. Ali Mousavi



Native of Shiraz city, Ali received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. He worked on his bachelor’s degree thesis on Turbidity current at Energy Conversion laboratory of Sharif University of Technology. After that, he traveled to Hawaii to begin his Master of Science at Mechanical Engineering department of University of Hawai’i at Mano’a with focus in renewable energies. He later joined Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) as research fellow working on Biofuels, developing, and expanding a reverse vortex flow non-thermal plasma reactor for fuel conversion and hydrogen production. In 2016, Ali began his journey at Virginia Tech University as a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering department. He collaborated with Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS) at Virginia Tech working on flow-batteries and Non-noble metal catalyst for fuel cell cathode. He later joined Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory (AMTL) as Ph.D. candidate working on electrochemical corrosion and anti-scaling properties of in-house developed non-wetting metallic surfaces. Ali has working experience in oil & gas industry. In his academic journey he has served as lab manager and wrote many standard operating procedures (SOP) and helped initiation of new research laboratories. Beside his record of experimental research and experimental design field Ali is equipped with machine learning tools for Data analysis. He is also interested in engineering education, Ali participated in Professional Development Program (PDP) at UC Santa Cruz university in 2014 and taught a renewable energy summer school course based on “expert group” teaching model developed at the PDP. Outside of laboratory he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking Virginia lush mountains, cycling and if ever finding a wave, surfing. He entertains himself indoor with reading management, mystics and poetry books.

Research Projects

Ali’s study of advanced metallic surfaces includes tuning surfaces to incorporate non-wetting properties. He achieves this via texturing methods like electrodeposition and etching and further enhancing the surface energy of the surfaces to reach superhydrophobicity. The used texturing methods are versatile for larger application and different geometries. He has achieved texturing inside surface of pipes via electrodeposition method which opens the route for more studies and toward real-world industrial applications of tuned surfaces. In particular, Ali’s work is focused on electrochemical corrosion and antifouling study of superhydrophobic and liquid infused surfaces or in general non-wetting surfaces.

Mineral Scaling on Brass and Aluminum Surfaces with a Range of Wettability

Crystallization fouling, or mineral scaling, is fundamental to various surfaces of energy and environmental applications. This paper considers, for the first time, a systematic investigation of scaling of nonwetting aluminum and brass surfaces relative to their bare counterparts. Metallic surfaces with a range of nonwetting characteristics from hydrophilic to superhydrophobic and lubricant infused surfaces were fabricated using a facile etching method. Systematic dynamic flow scaling experiments are conducted, for the first time, on the six different surface types at three flow levels and two temperature levels. The interactive effects of the different parameters are analyzed relative to their correspondence to nucleation theory. The study reveals that nonwetting metallic superhydrophobic or hydrophobic surfaces reduce fouling by over 50% compared to bare counterparts. Lubricant infused metallic surfaces demonstrate superior anti-scaling performance by over 60% and up to 90% fouling reduction. The study is the first to present fundamental insights into the engineering and anti-scaling performance of nonwetting brass and aluminum surfaces.

Long-Term Corrosion Stability of Nonwetting Surfaces

Superhydrophobic surfaces (SHSs) and lubricant-infused surfaces (LISs) are two classes of nonwetting surfaces that have drawn attention due to their advanced functional properties including corrosion inhibition. Yet there is a conspicuous lack of corrosion study of SHSs and LISs with respect to their fabrication and material parameters, especially at high temperatures and under dynamic flow conditions over long durations, which is sought to be addressed in this article. Considering copper SHSs and LISs, a full factorial combinatorial study of two facile texturing processes, electrodeposition and etching, two different functionalization agents, stearic acid and mercaptan, and two types of infused lubricants, Krytox 104 and DOWSIL 510, is presented, encompassing over 650 measurements on 90 tested surfaces. All fabricated surfaces demonstrated water repellency with a contact angle above 150° and a sliding angle below 7°. For the first time, the study examines high-temperature corrosion stability and long-term corrosion durability of the nonwetting surfaces in both static fluid and dynamic turbulent flow conditions over a period of 30 days. LISs and SHSs are shown to provide excellent corrosion inhibition over all tested corrosion conditions, with negligible presence of corrosion species on the surfaces and no deterioration of the texturing. The surfaces are also shown to rejuvenate easily to the initial wettability and corrosion resistance values. This study provides valuable insights into the selection of materials and processing parameters for the fabrication of nonwetting surfaces for the application of interest.

Mechanical and Chemical Durability of Non-wetting Superhydrophobic and Lubricant-Infused Surfaces

Fabrication of bioinspired non-wetting superhydrophobic surfaces (SHS) and lubricant-infused surfaces (LIS) has been studied extensively on a variety of materials. In contrast, durability of the surfaces exposed to harsh mechanical and chemical environments has been the subject of little attention. This study considers the mechanical and chemical durability of SHS and LIS copper surfaces fabricated via facile electrodeposition and chemical etching methods. The as-fabricated surfaces demonstrate excellent non-wetting characteristics with water contact angle of 160° and sliding angle below 5°. The surfaces are subject to mechanical wear through scratch test and water jet impingement at 15 psi and 20 psi as well as accelerated corrosion following the ASTM E407 standard. The performance of the electrodeposited and etched non-wetting surfaces is systematically assessed in terms of contact and sliding angles and corrosion rate in a simulated marine environment. All surfaces are shown to be robust to mechanical wear after scratch test, with excellent stability of contact and sliding angles, and up to two orders of magnitude reduced corrosion rate compared to bare copper surface. SHS retained steadfast non-wetting characteristics under high-pressure water jet tests compared to the other surfaces while LIS, regardless of texturing method, showed one to two orders of magnitude reduced corrosion rate compared to bare copper surface throughout water jet impingement and chemical durability tests. The study presents for the first time a systematic comparison of durability of SHS and LIS through a common set of fabrication and testing protocol and helps identify appropriate nonwetting surfaces and fabrication methods based on the use environment.

Temperature-dependent Dynamic Fouling on Superhydrophobic and Slippery Nonwetting Copper Surfaces

Bioinspired, superhydrophobic and slippery liquid infused surfaces that offer nonwetting characteristics have been explored in recent years for fouling mitigation. However, most of the studies are in the context of biofouling or under static immersion at ambient temperature conditions that are not reflective of the dynamic flow environment in practice. This article presents, for the first time, a systematic study of dynamic fouling of superhydrophobic (SHS) and slippery lubricant-infused surfaces (LIS) over a range of flow and temperature conditions. Copper metallic surfaces were textured via electrodeposition or etching and further functionalized to achieve SHS and, additionally, infiltrated with a lubricant to fabricate LIS. The nonwetting surfaces were studied for their fouling behavior in a rotating Couette flow of a supersaturated calcium sulfate solution at different rotational speed and temperature. Fouling mineral mass accumulation on the different surfaces was measured as a function of time over a period of days using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy and the fouled surfaces were investigated using scanning electron microscopy. Both SHS and LIS showed superior anti-scaling performance at all ranges of variables. An analytical Hill-Langmuir model is presented, for the first time, to describe the time evolution of scaling within 20% accuracy over the range of parameters studied. The study is the first to juxtapose two surface texturing methods, electrodeposition and etching, and two nonwetting surface types, SHS and LIS, subject to a common suite of experiments to elucidate fundamental understanding of mineral fouling on nonwetting surfaces.

Bioinspired Nonwetting Surfaces for Corrosion Inhibition over a Range of Temperature and Corrosivity

Applications of superhydrophobic (SHS) and lubricant infused surfaces (LIS) involve exposure to corrosive environments from the acidic to the basic, at a range of temperatures, that are not fully characterized. We present for the first time a multifactorial study of the effects of surface fabrication method, surface modification, surface functionalization time, temperature and  of the immersion medium on the corrosion performance of nonwetting copper surfaces. Bioinspired SHS and LIS fabricated using facile methods of etching and electrodeposition are systematically assessed using potentiodynamic polarization measurements for their corrosion resistance in saline solution (pH = 7) over a temperature range 23–85°C. SHS and LIS are shown to exhibit diminished corrosion rate, by up to two orders of magnitude, compared to bare copper surface. An Arrhenius model is developed for the first time, describing the temperature-dependent corrosion rate of SHS and LIS. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy is used to show that corrosion resistance of LIS is larger by three orders of magnitude in extremely acidic (pH = 1) and by an order magnitude in extremely alkaline (pH = 14) media compared to bare copper surface. Etched LIS are generally more resistant to corrosion compared to SHS at all temperatures with excellent microstructural durability.

Corrosion on Electrodeposited Superhydrophobic Copper Surfaces

This study considers the corrosion characteristics of superhydrophobic copper surfaces with multiscale asperities formed inherently on a copper substrate. A facile, rapid process of electrodeposition of copper is presented with fabrication times less than 5 minutes at a very low overpotential of –1.1 volt that reduces the energy requirement for fabrication. The as-fabricated cauliflower shaped multiscale textured surfaces were chemically modified (functionalized) using stearic acid, an environmentally benign fatty acid. Corrosion characteristics of the fabricated surfaces were measured using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy as well as the linear polarization technique to elucidate insights into the corrosion mechanism on superhydrophobic surfaces. Systematic studies are conducted, for the first time, to quantify the effects of functionalization time, corrosivity of the immersion medium, immersion time, and temperature on the corrosion performance of as-purchased copper and textured superhydrophobic copper surfaces. The corrosion characteristics are investigated over the range of extremes of corrosivity, from a harsh acid medium with a pH of 1 to a harsh alkaline medium,  pH = 14, including a 3.5% NaCl as a simulation for the marine environment. The study also reports corrosion measurements for long immersion time in a harsh environment via an in situ linear polarization method. Additionally, corrosion studies are presented, for the first time, on a range of temperatures in the range of 23–85 °C, from which an Arrhenius model is developed for the temperature-dependent corrosion rate of the superhydrophobic surfaces. The superhydrophobic surfaces are shown to enhance corrosion resistance by up to four orders of magnitude compared to bare copper.


  1. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “Mineral Scaling on Brass and Aluminum Surfaces with a Range of Wettability,” Surfaces and Interfaces, 34, 102379, 2022.
  2. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “Long-term Static and Dynamic Corrosion Stability of Nonwetting Surfaces,” Langmuir, 38(22), 6911–6922, 2022.
  3. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “A Comparative Study of Mechanical and Chemical Durability of Non-wetting Superhydrophobic and Lubricant-Infused Surfaces,” Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 643, 128711, 2022.
  4. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “Temperature-dependent Dynamic Fouling on Superhydrophobic and Slippery Nonwetting Copper Surfaces,” Chemical Engineering Journal, 431, 133960, 2022.
  5. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “Bioinspired Nonwetting Surfaces for Corrosion Inhibition over a Range of Temperature and Corrosivity,” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 607, 323-333, 2022.
  6. S.M.A. Mousavi and R. Pitchumani, “A Study of Corrosion on Electrodeposited Superhydrophobic Copper Surfaces,” Corrosion Science, 186, 109420, 2021.


Department of Energy