Spontaneous Breakdown of Superhydrophobicity

M. Sbragaglia, A.M. Peters, C. Pirat, B.M. Borkent, Rob G.H. Lammertink, Matthias Wessling, Detlef Lohse

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In some cases water droplets can completely wet microstructured superhydrophobic surfaces. The dynamics of this rapid process is analyzed by ultrahigh-speed imaging. Depending on the scales of the microstructure, the wetting fronts propagate smoothly and circularly or—more interestingly—in a stepwise manner, leading to a growing square-shaped wetted area: entering a new row perpendicular to the direction of front propagation takes milliseconds, whereas once this has happened, the row itself fills in microseconds (“zipping”). Numerical simulations confirm this view and are in quantitative agreement with the experiments.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)156001-1-156001-4
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • IR-59163
  • METIS-241249

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