Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ann Anderson




boat, hydrophobic, superhydrophobic, aerogels, hull


Aerogels are a nano-porous material that have the ability to be made chemically superhydrophobic. A durable boat hull coating of superhydrophobic aerogels could form the boundary conditions necessary to reduce drag in water and in turn improve overall boat performance. This project investigated whether a superhydrophobic aerogel coating could effectively reduce skin friction drag on a boat. Various techniques for superhydrophobic surface fabrication were researched and tested with the goal of maximizing the surface water contact angle. It was concluded that Nafion solution is not an effective material to adhere aerogels to a surface. Hydrophobic and non-hydrophobic aerogels were adhered to 3D printed boat hulls using double sided sticky tape. The hulls were attached to the bottom of a programmable boat and put through a series of performance tests with both hulls attached that were evaluated using video tracking software. It was found that average velocities of both the hydrophobic and non-hydrophobic aerogel boat hulls were higher than the average velocities of the control boat hulls. The average velocity of the hydrophobic boat hull was found to be significantly less than that of the non-hydrophobic boat hull. This surprising result may be due to the lack of surface air bubbles, characteristic of superhydrophobic surfaces, on the hydrophobic hull. Because of this possibility of an imperfect hydrophobic hull surface, it is still believed that superhydrophobic aerogels have the potential to reduce drag.