Water droplets condensing on solidified phase change materials such as benzene and cyclohexane near their melting point show in-plane jumping and continuous “crawling” motion. The jumping drop motion has been tentatively explained as an outcome of melting and refreezing of the materials surface beneath the droplets and can be thus considered as an inverted Leidenfrost-like effect (in the classical case vapor is generated from a droplet on a hot substrate). We present here a detailed investigation of jumping movements using high-speed imaging and static cross-sectional cryogenic focused ion beam scanning electron microscope imaging. Our results show that drop motion is induced by a thermocapillary (Marangoni) effect. The in-plane jumping motion can be delineated to occur in two stages. The first stage occurs on a millisecond time scale and comprises melting the substrate due to drop condensation. This results in droplet depinning, partial spreading, and thermocapillary movement until freezing of the cyclohexane film. The second stage occurs on a second time scale and comprises relaxation motion of the drop contact line (change in drop contact radius and contact angle) after substrate freezing. When the cyclohexane film cannot freeze, the droplet continuously glides on the surface, resulting in the crawling motion.

Paper: Ramchandra Narhe, Sushant Anand, Konrad Rykaczewski, Marie-Gabrielle Medici, Wenceslao González-Viñas, Kripa K. Varanasi, and Daniel Beysens, Langmuir

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