Water-related research

White paper
Proposed Milwaukee-Israel / Middle East Water Research Collaboration


We propose to establish a bilateral water research program for collaboration between the US and Israeli / Middle Eastern scientists and engineers in the area of water innovative technology development, transfer and commercialization.


Due to its proximity to the Great Lakes, Milwaukee is considered the US “Freshwater Industry Hub” or “Silicon Valley of Fresh Water” with a number of companies working in such areas as freshwater equipment (heaters, meters, filters, etc.), wastewater management, urban and agricultural water management, and similar. Milwaukee hosts the Global Water Center and the Water Council. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a number of water research centers (the NSF IUCRC for Water Equipment and Policy, the School of Freshwater Sciences, the Great Lakes Water Institute), while other UW campuses host the Sea Grant Institute, the Center for Limnology (UW-Madison), the Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center (UW-Stevens Point), and the River Studies Center (UW-La Crosse). Milwaukee and the UWM host many conferences and events related to water policy and technology.

There are many freshwater research centers in Israel, including the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (Ben Gurion University of Negev) and Grand Water Research Institute (Technion – the Israel Institute of Technology). Water research in Israel is driven by the lack of fresh water in the Middle East, which is opposite to what drives the water research in the US Midwest. Consequently, the expertise of Milwaukee researchers is often complimentary to that of their Middle Eastern counterparts, and, therefore, the collaboration in the fresh water area is expected to be mutually beneficial.

Furthermore, there are several specific bilateral foundations which support US-Israel collaboration in the areas of science, entrepreneurship, research and development. Israel, which is dubbed “the Startup Nation,” has vivid climate for high-tech and other disruptive innovation technology development. Scientists from other Middle Eastern countries (Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, etc.) should be welcome to join the project.

Potential participants

• University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Prof. M. Nosonovsky)
• Technion – Israel Institute of technology
• Ben Gurion University of the Negev
• Cluster – Disruptive Tech Hub, Art and Social Innovations (Tel Aviv, CEO Sasha Tabak)
• Possible collaborators from other institution (including other middle eastern countries)

Proposed activities

• The mission of the program is to strengthen collaboration between the scientists and engineers in fresh water research in the two regions
• The emphasis is on practical projects, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, rather than on the theoretical or fundamental research
• The target budget sought is $1M per year with the following distribution of expenditures
o Support of entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and new startup companies ($400k)
o Support for seed innovative research with the emphasis on student training ($300k)
o Seminars, visits, round tables, small conferences to strengthen international collaboration ($200k)
o Outreach including educational lectures and seminars, publications and similar ($100k)
• The activities will be governed by an Executive Board consisting of representatives of active members of the program: companies, academics, entrepreneurs, government agencies, etc.
Examples of potential projects and disruptive technology
• New applications of the superhydrophobicity (non-adhesive, antifouling, anti-icing, oleophobic, corrosion-resistant coating, water-oil separation, etc.)
• Water desalination using novel technology (e.g., micro/nanostructured membrane desalination)
• Water filtering using new technology (e.g., superhydro/oleophobicity)
• Wastewater treatment and cleaning using sustainable, zero-waste technology (e.g., using Zeolites, novel adsorbents, heavy metals removal, etc.)
• Sensors of water quality using novel technology (e.g., hybrid nanomaterials, superhydrophobicity-based materials)
• Acoustic technology and water (acoustic spectroscopy quality control, multiphase flow separation)
• Shark-skin effect and biomimetic water-related technology
• Novel self-cleaning, self-healing, and self-lubrication materials for water-related applications
• Improving logistics to save water with assistance of novel mobile and embedded devices, novel algorithms
• Social / cultural fresh-water related projects (water availability, water saving education etc.)

Potential sources of funding

• US-Israel Bilateral Science Foundation (BSF, supports fundamental research projects)
• Binational Agricultural Research & Development Fund (BARD, supports research related to agriculture including water)
• Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD, supports industrial research)
• Other bilateral funds, startup accelerator funds and similar
• Freshwater industry consortia
• Community funds (e.g., Milwaukee Jewish Community Foundation)

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Michael Nosonovsky is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research is in the surface science, wetting and capillary phenomena, and the superhydrophobicity. He has published more than 100 papers and several monographs, which were cited more than 5000 times, holds several patents, edited journal special issues (including Surfaces for Water-Related Applications), served as a 2015/16 Global Studies Fellow (“Water Centric Cities”), and as a sabbatical visitor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2016) and the Technion (2017).



• M Nosonovsky, 2011, Materials science: Slippery when wetted, Nature 477 (7365), 412-413

• M Nosonovsky, R Ramachandran, 2015, Geometric interpretation of surface tension equilibrium in superhydrophobic systems, Entropy 17 (7), 4684-4700


• AA Fedorets, M Frenkel, E Shulzinger, LA Dombrovsky, E Bormashenko, M. Nosonovsky, 2017, Self-assembled levitating clusters of water droplets: pattern-formation and stability, Scientific Reports 7 (1), 1888

Vibration-and pattern-induced phase control

• R Ramachandran, M Nosonovsky, 2016, Non-wetting, stabilization, and phase transitions induced by vibrations and spatial patterns, Non-wettable Surfaces, 12-41

• R Ramachandran, M Nosonovsky, 2016, Vibrations and Spatial Patterns Change Effective Wetting Properties of Superhydrophobic and Regular Membranes, Biomimetics 1 (1), 4


• R Ramachandran, M Kozhukhova, K Sobolev, M Nosonovsky, 2016, Anti-icing superhydrophobic surfaces: Controlling entropic molecular interactions to design novel icephobic concrete, Entropy 18 (4), 132

• R Ramachandran, M Nosonovsky, 2015, Superhydrophobic and Icephobic Materials for Energy Applications. In: Materials and Technologies for Energy Efficiency, 243

• R Ramachandran, M Nosonovsky, 2014, Surface micro/nanotopography, wetting properties and the potential for biomimetic icephobicity of skunk cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus, Soft Matter 10 (39), 7797-7803

• V Hejazi, K Sobolev, M Nosonovsky, 2013, From superhydrophobicity to icephobicity: forces and interaction analysis, Scientific reports 3, 2194

• M Nosonovsky, V Hejazi, 2012, Why superhydrophobic surfaces are not always icephobic, ACS Nano 6 (10), 8488-8491


• R Ramachandran, M Nosonovsky, 2015, Coupling of surface energy with electric potential makes superhydrophobic surfaces corrosion-resistant, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 17 (38), 24988-24997

• R Ramachandran, K Sobolev, M Nosonovsky, 2015, Dynamics of Droplet Impact on Hydrophobic/Icephobic Concrete with the Potential for Superhydrophobicity, Langmuir 31 (4), 1437–1444

• SW Muzenski, I Flores-Vivian, MI Kozhukhova, S Rao, M Nosonovsky, 2015, Nano-engineered Superhydrophobic and Overhydrophobic Concrete. In: Nanotechnology in Construction, 443-449

• V Hejazi, AD Moghadam, P Rohatgi, M Nosonovsky, 2014, Beyond Wenzel and Cassie–Baxter: second-order effects on the wetting of rough surfaces, Langmuir 30 (31), 9423-9429

• I Flores-Vivian, V Hejazi, MI Kozhukhova, M Nosonovsky, K Sobolev, 2014, Self-assembling particle-siloxane coatings for superhydrophobic concrete, ACS applied materials & interfaces 5 (24), 13284-13294

• M Mortazavi, M Nosonovsky, 2013, Adhesion, Wetting, and Superhydrophobicity of Polymeric Surfaces, Polymer Adhesion, Friction, and Lubrication, 177-226

• V Hejazi, M Nosonovsky, 2013, Contact angle hysteresis in multiphase systems, Colloid and Polymer Science 291 (2), 329-338

• V Mortazavi, V Hejazi, RM D’Souza, M Nosonovsky, 2013, Computational and Experimental Study of Contact Angle Hysteresis in Multiphase Systems. In: Advances in Contact Angle, Wettability and Adhesion, Volume 001, 19-48

• V Mortazavi, RM D’Souza, M Nosonovsky, 2013, Study of contact angle hysteresis using the Cellular Potts Model, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 15 (8), 2749-2756

• B Bhushan, M Nosonovsky, 2010, The rose petal effect and the modes of superhydrophobicity, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A

• B Bhushan, YC Jung, M Nosonovsky, 2010, Lotus effect: surfaces with roughness-induced superhydrophobicity, self-cleaning, and low adhesion. In: Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology, 1437-1524

• M Nosonovsky, E Bormashenko, 2009, Lotus effect: superhydrophobicity and self-cleaning. In: Functional properties of bio-inspired surfaces, 43-78

• M Nosonovsky, B Bhushan, 2008, Energy transitions in superhydrophobicity: low adhesion, easy flow and bouncing, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 20 (39), 395005

Desalination and filtration

• TG Hurd, S Beyhaghi, M Nosonovsky, 2012, Ecological aspects of water desalination improving surface properties of reverse osmosis membranes. In: Green Tribology, 531-564

Self cleaning and underwater applications

• M Nosonovsky, PK Rohatgi, 2011, Biomimetics in materials science: self-healing, self-lubricating, and self-cleaning materials Springer Science & Business Media

• M Nosonovsky, PK Rohatgi, 2011, Self-Cleaning in the Water Flow. In: Biomimetics in Materials Science, 343-354

• V Hejazi, AE Nyong, PK Rohatgi, M Nosonovsky, 2012, Wetting transitions in underwater oleophobic surface of brass, Advanced Materials 24 (44), 5963-5966

• V Hejazi, M Nosonovsky, 2011, Wetting transitions in two-, three-, and four-phase systems, Langmuir 28 (4), 2173-2180

Nanoscale water phase diagram and capillary forces

• S Yang, H Zhang, M Nosonovsky, KH Chung, 2008, Effects of contact geometry on pull-off force measurements with a colloidal probe, Langmuir 24 (3), 743-748

• SH Yang, M Nosonovsky, H Zhang, KH Chung, 2008, Nanoscale water capillary bridges under deeply negative pressure, Chemical Physics Letters 451 (1), 88-92

• M Nosonovsky, B Bhushan, 2008, Capillary effects and instabilities in nanocontacts, Ultramicroscopy 108 (10), 1181-1185

• M Nosonovsky, 2012, Nanoscale Water Phase Diagram. In: Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology, 1734-1739

• M Nosonovsky, B Bhushan, 2011, Capillary adhesion and nanoscale properties of water. In: Scanning Probe Microscopy in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 2, 551-571


• M Nosonovsky, 2016,Biomimetic Materials and Surfaces Water-Related Applications for Water-Centric Cities Intersections, 2016, Vol 4

• M Nosonovsky, B Bhushan, 2008, Do hierarchical mechanisms of superhydrophobicity lead to self-organized criticality? Scripta Materialia 59 (9), 941-944