Particulate-Droplet Coalescence and Self-Transport on Superhydrophobic Surfaces

Xiao Yan, Bingqiang Ji, Lezhou Feng, Xiong Wang, Daolong Yang, Kazi Fazle Rabbi, Qi Peng, Muhammad Jahidul Hoque, Puhang Jin, Elizabeth Bello, Soumyadip Sett, Marianne Alleyne, Donald M. Cropek, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Particulate transport from surfaces governs a variety of phenomena including fungal spore dispersal, bioaerosol transmission, and self-cleaning. Here, we report a previously unidentified mechanism governing passive particulate removal from superhydrophobic surfaces, where a particle coalescing with a water droplet (∼10 to ∼100 μm) spontaneously launches. Compared to previously discovered coalescence-induced binary droplet jumping, the reported mechanism represents a more general capillary-inertial dominated transport mode coupled with particle/droplet properties and is typically mediated by rotation in addition to translation. Through wetting and momentum analyses, we show that transport physics depends on particle/droplet density, size, and wettability. The observed mechanism presents a simple and passive pathway to achieve self-cleaning on both artificial as well as biological materials as confirmed here with experiments conducted on butterfly wings, cicada wings, and clover leaves. Our findings provide insights into particle-droplet interaction and spontaneous particulate transport, which may facilitate the development of functional surfaces for medical, optical, thermal, and energy applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12910-12921
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022


  • coalescence
  • microdroplet
  • particulate
  • self-cleaning
  • superhydrophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Particulate-Droplet Coalescence and Self-Transport on Superhydrophobic Surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this