Coalescence-induced nanodroplet jumping

Hyeongyun Cha, Chenyu Xu, Jesus Sotelo, Jae Min Chun, Yukihiro Yokoyama, Ryan Enright, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water vapor condensation on superhydrophobic surfaces has received much attention in recent years due to the ability of such surfaces to shed microscale water droplets via coalescence-induced droplet jumping, resulting in heat transfer, anti-icing, and self-cleaning performance enhancement. Here we report the coalescence-induced removal of water nanodroplets (R≈500nm) from superhydrophobic carbon nanotube (CNT) surfaces. The two-droplet coalescence time is measured for varying droplet Ohnesorge numbers, confirming that coalescence prior to jumping is governed by capillary-inertial dynamics. By varying the conformal hydrophobic coating thickness on the CNT surface, the minimum jumping droplet radius is shown to increase with increasing solid fraction and decreasing apparent advancing contact angle, allowing us to explore both hydrodynamic limitations stemming from viscous dissipation and surface adhesion limitations. We find that, even for the smallest nanostructure length scale (≤100 nm) and lowest surface adhesions, nonideal surface interactions and the evolved droplet morphology play defining roles in limiting the minimum size for jumping on real surfaces. The outcomes of this work demonstrate the ability to passively shed nanometric water droplets, which has the potential to further increase the efficiency of systems that can harness jumping droplets for a wide range of energy and water applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064102
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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