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Droplet Mobility on Hydrophobic Fibrous Coatings Comprising Orthogonal Fibers

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posted on 2018-09-18, 00:00 authored by M. Jamali, H. Vahedi Tafreshi, B. Pourdeyhimi
Water droplet mobility on a hydrophobic surface cannot be guaranteed even when the droplet exhibits a high contact angle (CA) with the surface. In fact, droplet mobility on a surface, especially a fibrous surface, has remained an unsolved empirical problem. This paper is a combined experimental–computational study focused on droplet mobility on a fibrous surface. Electrospun polystyrene (PS) coatings were used in this work for their ability to exhibit high CAs simultaneously with low droplet mobility. To simplify this otherwise complicated problem and better isolate droplet–fiber interactions, the orientation of the fibers in the coatings was limited to the x and y directions. As the earth gravity was not strong enough to mobilize small droplets on PS coatings, experiments were conducted using ferrofluid droplets, and a magnet was used to make them move on the surface. Experimentally validated numerical simulations were used to enhance our understanding of the forces acting on a droplet before moving on the surface. Effects of Young–Laplace CA and fiber–fiber spacing on droplet mobility were investigated. In particular, it was found that droplet mobility depends strongly on the balance of forces exerted on the droplet by the fibers on the receding and advancing sides.