This dissertation explores the physics of droplet impingement on superhydrophobic surfaces. The research is divided in three categories. First, the effect of a slip boundary condition on droplet spreading/retracting is considered. A model is developed based on energy conservation to evaluate spreading rates on surfaces exhibiting isotropic and anisotropic slip. The results show that larger slip causes the droplet to spread out farther owing to reduced friction at the interface for both slip scenarios. Furthermore, effects of slip become magnified for large Weber numbers due to the larger solid-liquid contact area during the process. On surfaces with anisotropic slip, droplets adopt an elliptical shape following the azimuthal contour of the slip on the surface. It is common for liquid to penetrate into the cavities at the superhydrophobic interface following droplet impact. Once penetrated, the flow is said to be in the Wenzel state and many superhydrophobic advantages, such as self-cleaning and drag-reduction, become negated. Transition from the Wenzel to the Cassie state (liquid resides above the texture) is referred to as dewetting and is the focus of the second piece of this dissertation. Micro-pillar pitch, height and temperature play a role on dewetting dynamics. The results show that dewetting rates increase with increasing pillar height and increasing surface temperature. A scaling model is constructed to obtain an explanation for the experimental observations and suggests that increasing pillar height increasing the driving dewetting force, while increasing surface temperature decreases dissipation. The last piece of work of this dissertation entails droplet impingement on superheated surfaces (100°C - 400°C). We find that the Leidenfrost point (LFP) occurs at a lower temperature on a hydrophobic surface than a hydrophilic one, where the LFP refers to the lowest temperature at which secondary atomization ceases to occur. This behavior is attributed to the manner in which vapor bubbles grow at the solid-liquid interface. Also in this work, high-speed photographs reveal that secondary atomization can be significantly suppressed on a superhydrophobic surface owing to the micro-pillar forest which allows vapor to escape hence minimizing bubble formation within the droplet. However, a more in-depth study into different superhydrophobic texture patterns later reveals that atomization intensity can significantly increase for small pitch values given the obstruction to vapor flow presented by the increased frequency of the pillars.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





superhydrophobic, droplet impingement, boiling, slip velocity, moving triple contact line