Asymmetric Wettability of Nanostructures Directs Leidenfrost Droplets

ACS Nano, 2014, 8 (1), pp 860–867.

Rebecca L. Agapov †, Jonathan B. Boreyko †,Dayrl P. Briggs †, Bernadeta R. Srijanto †‡, Scott T. Retterer †, C. Patrick Collier †, and Nickolay V. Lavrik † 

 Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831,United States and

 Department of Materials Science and Engineering,University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996,United States and




Leidenfrost phenomena on nano- and microstructured surfaces are of great importance for increasing control over heat transfer in high power density systems utilizing boiling phenomena. They also provide an elegant means to direct droplet motion in a variety of recently emerging fluidic systems. Here, we report the fabrication and characterization of tilted nanopillar arrays (TNPAs) that exhibit directional Leidenfrost water droplets under dynamic conditions, namely on impact with Weber numbers ≥40 at T ≥ 325 °C. The directionality for these droplets is opposite to the direction previously exhibited by macro- and microscale Leidenfrost ratchets where movement against the tilt of the ratchet was observed. The batch fabrication of the TNPAs was achieved by glancing-angle anisotropic reactive ion etching of a thermally dewet platinum mask, with mean pillar diameters of 100 nm and heights of 200–500 nm. In contrast to previously implemented macro- and microscopic Leidenfrost ratchets, our TNPAs induce no preferential directional movement of Leidenfrost droplets under conditions approaching steady-state film boiling, suggesting that the observed droplet directionality is not a result of the widely accepted mechanism of asymmetric vapor flow. Using high-speed imaging, phase diagrams were constructed for the boiling behavior upon impact for droplets falling onto TNPAs, straight nanopillar arrays, and smooth silicon surfaces. The asymmetric impact and directional trajectory of droplets was exclusive to the TNPAs for impacts corresponding to the transition boiling regime, linking asymmetric surface wettability to preferential directionality of dynamic Leidenfrost droplets on nanostructured surfaces


Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society


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