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Langmuir. 2005 Nov 22;21(24):11053-60.

Analysis of droplet evaporation on a superhydrophobic surface.

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  • 1School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS, UK.


The evaporation process for small, 1-2-mm-diameter droplets of water from patterned polymer surfaces is followed and characterized. The surfaces consist of circular pillars (5-15 microm diameter) of SU-8 photoresist arranged in square lattice patterns such that the center-to-center separation between pillars is 20-30 microm. These types of surface provide superhydrophobic systems with theoretical initial Cassie-Baxter contact angles for water droplets of up to 140-167 degrees, which are significantly larger than can be achieved by smooth hydrophobic surfaces. Experiments show that on these SU-8 textured surfaces water droplets initially evaporate in a pinned contact line mode, before the contact line recedes in a stepwise fashion jumping from pillar to pillar. Provided the droplets of water are deposited without too much pressure from the needle, the initial state appears to correspond to a Cassie-Baxter one with the droplet sitting upon the tops of the pillars. In some cases, but not all, a collapse of the droplet into the pillar structure occurs abruptly. For these collapsed droplets, further evaporation occurs with a completely pinned contact area consistent with a Wenzel-type state. It is shown that a simple quantitative analysis based on the diffusion of water vapor into the surrounding atmosphere can be performed, and estimates of the product of the diffusion coefficient and the concentration difference (saturation minus ambient) are obtained.

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