Hybrid Surface Design for Robust Superhydrophobicity

Surfaces may be rendered superhydrophobic by engineering the surface morphology to control the extent of the liquid–air interface and by the use of low-surface-energy coatings. The droplet state on a superhydrophobic surface under static and dynamic conditions may be explained in terms of the relative magnitudes of the wetting and antiwetting pressures acting at the liquid–air interface on the substrate. In this paper, we discuss the design and fabrication of hollow hybrid superhydrophobic surfaces which incorporate both communicating and noncommunicating air gaps. The surface design is analytically shown to exhibit higher capillary (or nonwetting) pressure compared to solid pillars with only communicating air gaps. Six hybrid surfaces are fabricated with different surface parameters selected such that the Cassie state of a droplet is energetically favorable. The robustness of the surfaces is tested under dynamic impingement conditions, and droplet dynamics are explained using pressure-based transitions between Cassie and Wenzel states. During droplet impingement, the effective water hammer pressure acting due to the sudden change in the velocity of the droplet is determined experimentally and is found to be at least 2 orders of magnitude less than values reported in the literature. The experiments show that the water hammer pressure depends on the surface morphology and capillary pressure of the surface. We propose that the observed reduction in shock pressure may be attributed to the presence of air gaps in the substrate. This feature allows liquid deformation and hence avoids the sudden stoppage of the droplet motion as opposed to droplet behavior on smooth surfaces.