Prof. Zuankai Wang is currently Chair Professor of Nature-Inspired Engineering in the Department of Mechanical
Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and concurrently serves as Associate Vice President
(Research & Innovation). Professor Wang received his B.S. degree from Jilin University in 2000, M.S. degree from
the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 2003, and a
Ph.D. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008. After a one-year postdoctoral training at Columbia University,
he joined the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) as Assistant Professor in 2009 and was promoted to Chair Professor in 2021.
He was the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering from 2019 to 2022 and the founding Deputy Director of
the Research Centre for Nature-Inspired Engineering from 2021 to 2022 at CityU. He is currently the Executive
Editor-in-Chief of Droplet journal (Wiley), and Associate Editor and Advisory Board Member for ten journals
(Langmuir, Advanced Engineering Materials, iScience, Journal of Bionic Engineering, and others).
Professor Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences, Croucher Senior Research Fellow (2023),
RGC Senior Research Fellow (2022), Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-field) recognized by Clarivate (2022),
Fellow of the International Society of Bionic Engineering, and Changjiang Chair Professor conferred by
Ministry of Education of China (2016). His work has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and
two inventions have won the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva Gold Medal and Gold Medal with
Congratulations of Jury, respectively. He has received many awards including the BOCHK Science and Technology
Innovation Prize (2022), Green Tech Award (2021), Xplorer Prize (2020), Hall of Fame (Advanced Engineering
Materials, 2019), 35th World Cultural Council Special Recognition Award (2018).
A defining feature of living organisms lies in their efficient use of surfaces to dynamically interface with
environments for a continuous flux and exchange of water, energy, heat, and information. The ubiquity and diversity
of these elegant natural surfaces construct the Surface of Things (SOT), reminiscence of In the Internet of
Things (IOT) which has received vast attention and widely penetrated into our daily life. Despite extensive progress,
particularly triggered by learning from nature, the power and magic of natural surfaces evade our deep scrutiny,
and it also appears challenging to design, manufacture and adopt artificial SOTs that exhibit high performances
as their natural counterparts. The challenges originate from the complexity in adopting one surface design to
resolve many seemingly contradictory properties to yield optimized functions for many practical applications,
especially in harsh environments.
In this talk, I will reveal intriguing property-function relationships on natural surfaces and then design,
manufacture nature-inspired SOT with tailored complementary properties in topography, wetting, thermal/electrical
conductivity, stiffness to overcome the inherent tradeoff otherwise associated with homogeneous design for
water, energy, environment and healthcare applications.