Directional wettability, i.e. the variation of wetting properties, depending on the surface orientation, can be achieved by anisotropic surface texturing. A new high-precision process can produce homogeneous sinusoidal surfaces (in particular, parallel grooves) at the microscale, with a nanoscale residual roughness five orders of magnitude smaller than the texture features. Static wetting experiments have shown that this pattern, even with a very small aspect ratio, can induce a strong variation of the contact angle, depending on the direction of the observation. A comparison with numerical simulations (using Surface Evolver software) shows good agreement and could be used to predict fluid-solid interaction and droplet behaviour on textured surfaces. Two primary mechanisms of directional spreading of water droplets on textured stainless steel surface have been identified. The first one is the mechanical barrier created by the textured surface peaks; this limits spreading in a perpendicular direction to the surface anisotropy. The second one is the capillary action inside of the sinusoidal grooves, which accelerates spreading along the grooves. Spreading has been shown to depend strongly on the history of wetting and internal drop dynamics.
|Journal||Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2014|