Steady Method for the Analysis of Evaporation Dynamics

A. Alperen Günay, Soumyadip Sett, Junho Oh, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Droplet evaporation is an important phenomenon governing many man-made and natural processes. Characterizing the rate of evaporation with high accuracy has attracted the attention of numerous scientists over the past century. Traditionally, researchers have studied evaporation by observing the change in the droplet size in a given time interval. However, the transient nature coupled with the significant mass-transfer-governed gas dynamics occurring at the droplet three-phase contact line makes the classical method crude. Furthermore, the intricate balance played by the internal and external flows, evaporation kinetics, thermocapillarity, binary-mixture dynamics, curvature, and moving contact lines makes the decoupling of these processes impossible with classical transient methods. Here, we present a method to measure the rate of evaporation of spatially and temporally steady droplets. By utilizing a piezoelectric dispenser to feed microscale droplets (R ≈ 9 μm) to a larger evaporating droplet at a prescribed frequency, we can both create variable-sized droplets on any surface and study their evaporation rate by modulating the piezoelectric droplet addition frequency. Using our steady technique, we studied water evaporation of droplets having base radii ranging from 20 to 250 μm on surfaces of different functionalities (45° ≤ θa,app ≤ 162°, where θa,app is the apparent advancing contact angle). We benchmarked our technique with the classical unsteady method, showing an improvement of 140% in evaporation rate measurement accuracy. Our work not only characterizes the evaporation dynamics on functional surfaces but also provides an experimental platform to finally enable the decoupling of the complex physics governing the ubiquitous droplet evaporation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12007-12015
Number of pages9
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 31 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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