The goals of the SURGG REACT project was to develop the design for a relief tent that would channel and redirect environmental water using active coating technology. As a team member focusing on the tent design (rather than the development and characterization of coatings), the goal was to develop worked out scenarios for tent use, develop structural and material models of the final tent design, and develop a final prototype where structure and materials came together. Additionally, I set personal goals to learn about fabrication methods needed to make active coatings scalable and to pattern material surfaces. I also wanted to learn what was necessary to make a proper design/architecture model for demos. I study bioengineering, so the architecture inclination of this project put me outside of my comfort zone. For instance, the week before starting the project, I had to do a lot of reading on tensile structures, which included dozens of architecture terms I had never heard before.
By the end of my time on with REACT, I learned what surface properties were necessary to make a surface super hydrophobic. Furthermore, I understood how to characterize hydrophobicity and coating durability in a way that was relevant to a large-scale structure like a tent. I became familiar with coating methods like blade, slot, and spray coating. I also learned about how to image material surfaces using scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy and familiarized myself with the strengths of each method. I got hands-on experience with soft-lithography, and I got very good at sewing – a skill that was necessary to make the models for the final demo. I studied a variety of seams and their respective functions because we used seam design to channel water in our final tent model in a creative way.