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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2008 May 13;366(1870):1539-56. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2171.

Non-adhesive lotus and other hydrophobic materials.

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Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes, ESPCI, 75005 Paris, France.


Superhydrophobic materials recently attracted a lot of attention, owing to the potential practical applications of such surfaces--they literally repel water, which hardly sticks to them, bounces off after an impact and slips on them. In this short review, we describe how water repellency arises from the presence of hydrophobic microstructures at the solid surface. A drop deposited on such a substrate can float above the textures, mimicking at room temperature what happens on very hot plates; then, a vapour layer comes between the solid and the volatile liquid, as described long ago by Leidenfrost. We present several examples of superhydrophobic materials (either natural or synthetic), and stress more particularly the stability of the air cushion--the liquid could also penetrate the textures, inducing a very different wetting state, much more sticky, due to the possibility of pinning on the numerous defects. This description allows us to discuss (in quite a preliminary way) the optimal design to be given to a solid surface to make it robustly water repellent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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