Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Past Winner
2019 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Faculty of Engineering

University of Alberta

Hongbo Zeng zooms down to the molecular level to understand the forces that make objects slip, grip, squeeze, slide and stick. The insights he gains from his up-close examinations are telling us a lot about how we can build better materials and improve the performance of our natural resource technologies. For instance, Zeng elucidated the mechanism for molecular adhesion of marine mussel proteins to surfaces in sea water. Then, he used this discovery to develop novel self-healing materials that can glue themselves back together  underwater. Now, Zeng is turning his attention to the challenge of pliable shapes like liquid drops and air bubbles. His observations and direct force measurements about how these bubbles and drops flow, cling and drag across surfaces will be applied to improve mechanical processes used to extract oil, allowing producers to improve the efficiency of recovering bitumen while using less energy and reducing the environmental footprint.

Hongbo Zeng
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