Continuous droplet removal upon dropwise condensation of humid air on a hydrophobic micropatterned surface

Konstantin O. Zamuruyev, Hamzeh K. Bardaweel, Christopher J. Carron, Nicholas Kenyon, Oliver Brand, Jean Pierre Delplanque, Cristina E Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Combination of two physical phenomena, capillary pressure gradient and wettability gradient, allows a simple two-step fabrication process that yields a reliable hydrophobic self-cleaning condenser surface. The surface is fabricated with specific microscopic topography and further treatment with a chemically inert low-surface-energy material. This process does not require growth of nanofeatures (nanotubes) or hydrophilic-hydrophobic patterning of the surface. Trapezoidal geometry of the microfeatures facilitates droplet transfer from the Wenzel to the Cassie state and reduces droplet critical diameter. The geometry of the micropatterns enhances local coalescence and directional movement for droplets with diameter much smaller than the radial length of the micropatterns. The hydrophobic self-cleaning micropatterned condenser surface prevents liquid film formation and promotes continuous dropwise condensation cycle. Upon dropwise condensation, droplets follow a designed wettability gradient created with micropatterns from the most hydrophobic to the least hydrophobic end of the surface. The surface has higher condensation efficiency, due to its directional self-cleaning property, than a plain hydrophobic surface. We explain the self-actuated droplet collection mechanism on the condenser surface and demonstrate experimentally the creation of an effective wettability gradient over a 6 mm radial distance. In spite of its fabrication simplicity, the fabricated surface demonstrates self-cleaning property, enhanced condensation performance, and reliability over time. Our work enables creation of a hydrophobic condenser surface with the directional self-cleaning property that can be used for collection of biological (chemical, environmental) aerosol samples or for condensation enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10133-10142
Number of pages10
JournalLangmuir
Volume30
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Spectroscopy

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