Over the last decade the most common approach to creating liquid shedding surfaces has been to amplify the effects of non-wetting surface chemistry, using micro/nano-texturing to create superhydrophobic and superoleophobic surfaces. Recently, an alternative approach using impregnation of micro/nano-textured surfaces with immiscible lubricating liquids to create Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) has been developed. These types of surfaces open up new opportunities to study the mechanism of evaporation of sessile droplets in zero contact angle hysteresis situations where the contact line is completely mobile. In this study, we fabricated surfaces consisting of square pillars (10 – 90µm) of SU-8 photoresist arranged in square lattice patterns with the centre-to-centre separation between pillars of 100µm, on which a hydrophobic coating was deposited and the textures impregnated by a lubricating silicone oil. These surfaces showed generally low sliding angles of 1o or less for small droplets of water. Droplet profiles were more complicated than on non-impregnated surfaces and displayed a spherical cap shape modified by a wetting ridge close to the contact line due to balancing the interfacial forces at the line of contact between the droplet, the lubricant liquid and air (represented by a Neumann triangle). The wetting ridge leads to the concept of a wetting “skirt” of lubricant around the base of the droplet. For the SLIP surfaces we found that the evaporation of small sessile droplets (~2 mm in diameter) followed an ideal constant contact angle mode where the apparent contact angle was defined from the intersection of the substrate profile with the droplet spherical cap profile. A theoretical model based on diffusion controlled evaporation was able to predict a linear dependence in time for the square of the apparent contact radius. The experimental data was in excellent quantitative agreement with the theory and enabled estimates of the diffusion constant to be obtained.
- Contact Angle