Controlling liquid splash on superhydrophobic surfaces by a vesicle surfactant

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Science Advances  01 Mar 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 3, e1602188
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602188

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Deposition of liquid droplets on solid surfaces is of great importance to many fundamental scientific principles and technological applications, such as spraying, coating, and printing. For example, during the process of pesticide spraying, more than 50% of agrochemicals are lost because of the undesired bouncing and splashing behaviors on hydrophobic or superhydrophobic leaves. We show that this kind of splashing on superhydrophobic surfaces can be greatly inhibited by adding a small amount of a vesicular surfactant, Aerosol OT. Rather than reducing splashing by increasing the viscosity via polymer additives, the vesicular surfactant confines the motion of liquid with the help of wettability transition and thus inhibits the splash. Significantly, the vesicular surfactant exhibits a distinguished ability to alter the surface wettability during the first inertial spreading stage of ~2 ms because of its dense aggregates at the air/water interface. A comprehensive model proposed by this idea could help in understanding the complex interfacial interactions at the solid/liquid/air interface.

  • Superhydrophobic
  • liquid deposition
  • vesicle surfactant

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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