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Splashing Threshold of Oblique Droplet Impacts on Surfaces of Various Wettability

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posted on 15.09.2015, 00:00 by Damon G. K. Aboud, Anne-Marie Kietzig
Oblique drop impacts were performed at high speeds (up to 27 m/s, We > 9000) with millimetric water droplets, and a linear model was applied to define the oblique splashing threshold. Six different sample surfaces were tested: two substrate materials of different inherent surface wettability (PTFE and aluminum), each prepared with three different surface finishes (smooth, rough, and textured to support superhydrophobicity). Our choice of surfaces has allowed us to make several novel comparisons. Considering the inherent surface wettability, we discovered that PTFE, as the more hydrophobic surface, exhibits lower splashing thresholds than the hydrophilic surface of aluminum of comparable roughness. Furthermore, comparing oblique impacts on smooth and textured surfaces, we found that asymmetrical spreading and splashing behaviors occurred under a wide range of experimental conditions on our smooth surfaces; however, impacts occurring on textured surfaces were much more symmetrical, and one-sided splashing occurred only under very specific conditions. We attribute this difference to the air-trapping nature of textured superhydrophobic surfaces, which lowers the drag between the spreading lamella and the surface. The reduced drag affects oblique drop impacts by diminishing the effect of the tangential component of the impact velocity, causing the impact behavior to be governed almost exclusively by the normal velocity. Finally, by comparing oblique impacts on superhydrophobic surfaces at different impact angles, we discovered that although the pinning transition between rebounding and partial rebounding is governed primarily by the normal impact velocity, there is also a weak dependence on the tangential velocity. As a result, pinning is inhibited in oblique impacts. This led to the observation of a new behavior in highly oblique impacts on our superhydrophobic surfaces, which we named the stretched rebound, where the droplet is extended into an elongated pancake shape and rebounds while still outstretched, without exhibiting a recession phase.