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Toward Understanding Whether Superhydrophobic Surfaces Can Really Decrease Fluidic Friction Drag

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journal contribution
posted on 20.04.2010, 00:00 by Bin Su, Mei Li, Qinghua Lu
Superhydrophobic surfaces in nature such as legs of water striders can get an extra supporting force from the deformed water surface they contact, leading to an anticipation of using water-repellent surfaces on ship and even submarine hulls to reduce friction drag. Here, we first fabricate superhydrophobic coatings with microstructures on glass balls by introducing hydrophobic silica nanoparticles into a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film. Then, the movement of a superhydrophobic ball on and below water surface is investigated and compared with that of a highly hydrophilic normal glass ball. The results reveal that a superhydrophobic ball can fall more slowly under water compared with a normal glass ball, because the dense microbubbles trapped at the solid/water interface around the superhydrophobic ball act not as a reducer, but as an enhancer for the friction drag. In contrast, the faster movement of a superhydrophobic ball on the water surface can be mainly attributed to the great reduction of skin friction owing to the increased area of the solid/atmosphere interface.

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