Volume 88, Number 2, October 2009
Article Number 26002
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 04 November 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 26002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/26002

Fall and rise of small droplets on rough hydrophobic substrates

M. Gross1, 2, F. Varnik1, 2 and D. Raabe2

1   Interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Materials Simulation (ICAMS), Ruhr-Universität Bochum Stiepeler Strasse 129, 44801 Bochum, Germany, EU
2   Max-Planck Institut für Eisenforschung - Max-Planck Str. 1, 40237 Düsseldorf, Germany, EU

received 26 August 2009; accepted in final form 1 October 2009; published October 2009
published online 4 November 2009

Liquid droplets on patterned hydrophobic substrates are typically observed either in the Wenzel or the Cassie state. Here we show that for droplets of comparable size to the roughness scale an additional local equilibrium state exists, where the droplet is immersed in the texture, but not yet contacts the bottom grooves. Upon evaporation, a droplet in this state enters the Cassie state, opening the possibility of a qualitatively new self-cleaning mechanism. The effect is of generic character and is expected to occur in any hydrophobic capillary wetting situation where a spherical liquid reservoir is involved.

68.08.Bc - Wetting.
68.35.Ct - Interface structure and roughness.
47.55.D- - Droplets and bubbles.

© EPLA 2009