Lubricant-Infused Surfaces for Low-Surface-Tension Fluids: Promise versus Reality

Soumyadip Sett, Xiao Yan, George Barac, Leslie W. Bolton, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The past few decades have seen substantial effort for the design and manufacturing of hydrophobic structured surfaces for enhanced steam condensation in water-based applications. Such surfaces promote dropwise condensation and easy droplet removal. However, less priority has been given to applications utilizing low-surface-tension fluids as the condensate. Lubricant-infused surfaces (LISs) or slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPSs) have recently been developed, where the atomically smooth, defect-free slippery surface leads to reduced pinning of water droplets and omniphobic characteristics. The remarkable results of LISs and SLIPSs with a range of working fluid droplets give hope of their viability with low-surface-tension condensates. However, the presence of the additional liquid in the form of lubricant brings other issues to consider. Here, in an effort to study the dropwise condensation potential of LISs and SLIPSs, we investigate the miscibility of a range of low-surface-tension fluids with widely used lubricants in LIS and SLIPS design. We consider a wide range of condensate surface tensions (12-73 mN/m) and different categories of lubricants with varied viscosities (5-2700 cSt), namely, fluorinated Krytox oils, hydrocarbon silicone oils, mineral oil, and ionic liquids. In addition, we use both theory and pendant drop experiments to predict the cloaking behavior of the lubricants and immiscible condensate working fluid pairs. Our work not only shows that careful attention must be paid to lubricant-condensate selection to create long-lasting LISs or SLIPSs but also develops lubricant selection design guidelines for stable LISs and SLIPSs for enhanced condensation in applications utilizing low-surface-tension working fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36400-36408
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 18 2017


  • LIS
  • cloaking
  • low-surface tension
  • lubricants
  • miscibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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