School of Engineering
Project title: Bio-inspired Surface Engineering for Self-cleaning and Water Collection
Supervisor: Dr Zonghan Xie
My way to an ideal careerStudying at ECU Engineering is not my first chance to pursue a PhD degree. I discontinued my previous PhD studies in science at a different institution, where I obtained a master’s degree. I always think that I should build up a career that I am really interested in and am skilled at. My ongoing research journey at ECU convinces me that I will benefit a lot from it.
I am very much attracted to my current research project at ECU as it deals with wetting, which is one of the most common phenomena on our planet. One striking example is that water droplets present perfect spherical shapes on lotus leaves. The relevant principles can be widely applied in industry and our daily life where surfaces need to be kept dry and clean, such as clothes, glass, cars, buildings, etc.
It was quite overwhelming in the beginning, as neither I nor my supervisor had much experience on this topic. I was confused by countless journal papers and various research ideas. My supervisor has been very helpful in discussing the
literature with me and narrowing down the research topic. I was soon able to clarify the subject and scale of my research and started to write a research proposal, which was presented in front of the school faculty on time.
ECU provides much more than research facilities. I realize that PhD studies are actually not just about studying in a particular field; it also involves a lot of social skills and strategies to deal with different situations. Another highlight in the research journey at ECU is that there are enormous trainings and events provided by the Graduate Research School about various research-related issues, such as proposal writing, literature review, Endnote, presentations and so on. There are so many resources that I can look to for help in case I encounter problems with my research. I have also built up contacts with researchers from other universities and institutions. Now I have technical support from experts on botany, mathematics, microscopy, chemistry and materials.
The strategies, skills and knowledge I am acquiring during my research journey at ECU will lead me to an ideal career in the near future.