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Materials (Basel). 2018 Nov 11;11(11). pii: E2240. doi: 10.3390/ma11112240.

Long-Term Influence of Laser-Processing Parameters on (Super)hydrophobicity Development and Stability of Stainless-Steel Surfaces.

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Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva 6, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Institute of metals and technology, Lepi pot 11, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Institute of metals and technology, Lepi pot 11, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Controlling the surface wettability represents an important challenge in the field of surface functionalization. Here, the wettability of a stainless-steel surface is modified by 30-ns pulses of a Nd:YAG marking laser (λ = 1064 nm) with peak fluences within the range 3.3⁻25.1 J cm-2. The short- (40 days), intermediate- (100 days) and long-term (1 year) superhydrophilic-to-(super)hydrophobic transition of the laser-textured surfaces exposed to the atmospheric air is examined by evaluating its wettability in the context of the following parameters: (i) pulse fluence; (ii) scan line separation; (iii) focal position and (iv) wetting period due to contact angle measurements. The results show that using solely a short-term evaluation can lead to wrong conclusions and that the faster development of the hydrophobicity immediately after laser texturing usually leads to lower final contact angle and vice versa, the slower this transition is, the more superhydrophobic the surface is expected to become (possibly even with self-cleaning ability). Depending on laser fluence, the laser-textured surfaces can develop stable or unstable hydrophobicity. Stable hydrophobicity is achieved, if the threshold fluence of 12 J cm-2 is exceeded. We show that by nanosecond-laser texturing a lotus-leaf-like surface with a contact angle above 150° and roll-off angle below 5° can be achieved.


laser material processing; laser surface engineering; superhydrophobic surfaces; surface modification; wetting

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