Topography driven spreading

G. McHale, N. J. Shirtcliffe, S. Aqil, C. C. Perry, M. I. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Roughening a hydrophobic surface enhances its nonwetting properties into superhydrophobicity. For liquids other than water, roughness can induce a complete rollup of a droplet. However, topographic effects can also enhance partial wetting by a given liquid into complete wetting to create superwetting. In this work, a model system of spreading droplets of a nonvolatile liquid on surfaces having lithographically produced pillars is used to show that superwetting also modifies the dynamics of spreading. The edge speed-dynamic contact angle relation is shown to obey a simple power law, and such power laws are shown to apply to naturally occurring surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)036102
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2004


  • water-repellent
  • surfaces
  • dynamics
  • roughness
  • contact angle
  • drop
  • wicking
  • hemi-wicking


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