Nanotextured superhydrophobic surfaces have received significant attention due to their ability to easily shed liquid drops. However, water droplets have been shown to condense within the textures of superhydrophobic surfaces, impale the vapor pockets, and strongly pin to the surface. This results in poor droplet mobility and degrades condensation performance. In this paper, we show that pinning of condensate droplets can be drastically reduced by designing a hierarchical micro-nanoscale texture on a surface and impregnating it with an appropriate lubricant. The choice of lubricant must take into account the surface energies of all phases present. A lubricant will cloak the condensate and inhibit growth if the spreading coefficient is positive. If the lubricant does not fully wet the solid, we show how condensate–solid pinning can be reduced by proper implementation of nanotexture. On such a surface, condensate droplets as small as 100 μm become highly mobile and move continuously at speeds that are several orders of magnitude higher than those on identically textured superhydrophobic surfaces. This remarkable mobility produces a continuous sweeping effect that clears the surface for fresh nucleation and results in enhanced condensation.
See paper here: Sushant Anand, Adam T. Paxson, Rajeev Dhiman, J. David Smith, and Kripa K. Varanasi, ACS Nano
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