Research

Superhydrophobic Splashes

Superhydrophobic surfaces have a complicated microscale structure that changes how water interacts with them, like the hairs on a lotus leaf or the scales of a butterfly’s wing. The photo above shows snapshots at each millisecond as a water drop hits a superhydrophobic surface covered in rows of 18 micron-tall posts. The drop hits with enough speed to drive some water into the space between posts, as shown by the dark area near the center of the splash. As the rest of the droplet spreads, four microjets form along the directions of the micropost array. Those jets remain apparent until the drop reaches its maximum radius and starts to recoil. The rectangular shape of the post array affects how the water pulls away from the surface, or depins, causing the round droplet to instead take on a square-like shape as it pulls back. (Image credit: M. Reyssat et al.)

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