Ivan Uriev Vakarelski, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist
Senior Research Scientist


Dr. Vakarelski obtained his M.S. in Physics from University of Sofia, Bulgaria and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Kyoto University, Japan. Following his Ph.D., Dr. Vakarelski held research positions at the University of Florida, USA; Kyoto University, Japan; the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, Singapore before moving to KAUST in 2010. Since joining KAUST Dr. Vakarelski lead research published in Nature, Science Advances and Physical Review Letters.     

Research Interests

Fluid Dynamics.
Drag force reduction and energy saving by introducing lubricating gas layer on solid bodies moving in liquid. Effect of wettability and surface roughness on the heat-transfer and boiling on a heated solid surface in contact with water.

Colloid and surface science.
Force measurement on micro and nanoscale using the atomic force microscopy (AFM) colloidal probe technique: microparticles adhesion, nanoscale friction and wear in solutions. Soft matter interactions: AFM colloidal probe measurement of forces between droplets, bubbles and living cells. 
Surface modification by click-chemistry, surface functionalization with nanoparticles. Nanoparticles selfassembly into functional microwire networks by evaporative lithography.

Selected Publications

Self-determined shapes and velocities of giant near-zero drag gas cavities

     Vakarelski, I. U., Klaseboer, E., Jetly, A., Mansoor, M. M., Aguirre-Pablo, A. A., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T. 

     Science Advances, 3, e1701558 (2017).

Leidenfrost vapor layers reduce drag without the crisis in high viscosity liquids

     Vakarelski, I. U., Berry, J. D., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T. 

     Physical Review Letters, 117,114503 (2016).


Drag moderation by the melting of an ice surface in contact with water

     Vakarelski, I. U., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T. 

     Physical Review Letters, 115, 044501 (2015).

Stabilization of Leidenfrost vapour layer by textured superhydrophobic surfaces.

    Vakarelski, I. U., Patankar, N. A., Marston, J. O., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T.


Drag reduction by Leidenfrost vapor layers. 

   Vakarelski, I. U., Marston, J. O., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T. 

   Physical Review Letters, 106, 214501 (2011).


Dynamic interactions between microbubbles in water,

    Vakarelski, I. U., Manica, R.; Tang, X. S., O’Shea, S. J., Stevens, G. W., Grieser, F., Dagastine, R. D., Chan, D. Y. C.,

Assembly of gold nanoparticles into microwire networks induced by drying liquid bridges.

    Vakarelski, I. U., Chan, D. Y. C., Nonoguchi, T., Shinto, H., Higashitani, K.