Nonwetting surfaces engineered from intrinsically hydrophilic metallic materials are promising for self-cleaning, anti-icing, or condensation heat transfer applications where the durability of commonly applied hydrophobic coatings is an issue. In this work, we fabricate and study the wetting behavior and the condensation performance on two metallic nonwetting surfaces with varying number and size of roughness tiers without the need for further hydrophobic coating procedure. On one hand, the surface resembling a rose petal exhibits a sticky nonwetting behavior as drops wet the microscopic roughness features with consequent enhanced drop adhesion, which leads to filmwise condensation. On the other hand, the surface resembling a lotus leaf provides super-repellent nonwetting behavior prompting the continuous nucleation, growth, and departure of spherical drops in a dropwise condensation fashion. On a lotus leaf surface, the third nanoscale roughness tier (created by chemical oxidation) combined with ambience exposure prompts the growth of drops in the Cassie state with the benefit of minimal condensate adhesion. The two different condensation behaviors reported are well supported by a drop surface energy analysis, which accounts for the different wetting performance and the surface structure underneath the condensing drops. Further, we coated the above-mentioned surfaces with polydimethylsiloxane, which resulted in filmwise condensation due to the smoothening of the different roughness tiers. Continuous dropwise condensation on a hierarchical bioinspired lotus leaf metallic surface without the need for a conformal hydrophobic coating is hence demonstrated, which offers a novel path for the design and manufacture of noncoated metallic super-repellent surfaces for condensation phase change applications, among others.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)