Volume 81, Number 3, February 2008
Article Number 36003
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 03 January 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 36003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/36003

The collapse transition on superhydrophobic surfaces

H. Kusumaatmaja, M. L. Blow, A. Dupuis and J. M. Yeomans

The Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, Oxford University - 1 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3NP, UK

received 14 September 2007; accepted in final form 4 December 2007; published February 2008
published online 3 January 2008

We investigate the transition between the Cassie-Baxter and Wenzel states of a slowly evaporating, micron-scale drop on a superhydrophobic surface. In two dimensions analytical results show that there are two collapse mechanisms. For long posts the drop collapses when it is able to overcome the free-energy barrier presented by the hydrophobic posts. For short posts, as the drop loses volume, its curvature increases allowing it to touch the surface below the posts. We emphasise the importance of the contact line retreating across the surface as the drop becomes smaller: this often preempts the collapse. In a quasi-three-dimensional simulation we find similar behaviour, with the additional feature that the drop can depin from all but the peripheral posts, so that its base resembles an inverted bowl.

68.08.Bc - Wetting.
68.35.Md - Surface thermodynamics, surface energies.
68.35.Ct - Interface structure and roughness.

© EPLA 2008