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Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Dec 5;113(23):235701. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

Nucleation at the contact line observed on nanotextured surfaces.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA and Atmospheric Sciences Program, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA.
2
Department of Physics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA.

Abstract

It has been conjectured that roughness plays a role in surface nucleation, the tendency for freezing to begin preferentially at the liquid-gas interface. Using high speed imaging, we sought evidence for freezing at the contact line on catalyst substrates with imposed characteristic length scales (texture). Length scales consistent with the critical nucleus size and with δ∼τ/σ, where τ is a relevant line tension and σ is the surface tension, range from nanometers to micrometers. It is found that nanoscale texture causes a shift in the nucleation of ice in supercooled water to the three-phase contact line, while microscale texture does not.

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