We show that electrowetting (EW) with structured electrodes significantly modifies the distribution of drops condensing onto flat hydrophobic surfaces by aligning the drops and by enhancing coalescence. Numerical calculations demonstrate that drop alignment and coalescence are governed by the drop-size-dependent electrostatic energy landscape that is imposed by the electrode pattern and the applied voltage. Such EW-controlled migration and coalescence of condensate drops significantly alter the statistical characteristics of the ensemble of droplets. The evolution of the drop size distribution displays self-similar characteristics that significantly deviate from classical breath figures on homogeneous surfaces once the electrically induced coalescence cascades set in beyond a certain critical drop size. The resulting reduced surface coverage, coupled with earlier drop shedding under EW, enhances the net heat transfer.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Physical review letters|
|Publication status||Published - 24 May 2018|