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Title: Droplet dynamics on superhydrophobic surfaces
Author: Moevius, Lisa
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Millions of years of evolution have led to a wealth of highly adapted functional surfaces in nature. Among the most fascinating are superhydrophobic surfaces which are highly water-repellent and shed drops very easily owing to their chemical hydrophobicity combined with micropatterning. Superhydrophobic materials have attracted a lot of attention due to their practical applications as ultra-low friction surfaces for ships and pipes, water harvesters, de-humidifiers and cooling systems. At small length scales, where surface tension dominates over gravity, these surfaces show a wealth of phenomena interesting to physicists, such as directional flow, rolling, and drop bouncing. This thesis focuses on two examples of dynamic drop interactions with micropatterned surfaces and studies them by means of a lattice Boltzmann simulation approach. Inspired by recent experiments, we investigate the phenomenon of the self-propelled bouncing of coalescing droplets. On highly hydrophobic patterned surfaces drop coalescence can lead to an out-of-plane jump of the composite drop. We discuss the importance of energy dissipation to the jumping process and identify an anisotropy of the jumping ability with respect to surface features. We show that Gibbs' pinning is the source of this anisotropy and explain how it leads to the inhibition of coalescence-induced jumping. The second example we study is the novel phenomenon of pancake bouncing. Conventionally, a drop falling onto a superhydrophobic surface spreads due to its inertia, retracts due to its surface tension, and bounces off the surface. Here we explain a different pathway to bouncing that has been observed in recent experiments: A drop may spread upon impact, but leave the surface whilst still in an elongated shape. This new behaviour, which occurs transiently for certain impact and surface parameters, is due to reversible liquid imbibition into the superhydrophobic substrate. We develop a theoretical model and test it on data from experiments and simulations. The theoretical model is used to explain pancake bouncing in detail.
Supervisor: Yeomans, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theoretical physics ; Lattice Boltzmann simulations ; lattice Boltzmann ; superhydrophobic surfaces ; wetting ; fluid dynamics ; hydrodynamics ; simulations