While superhydrophobic nanostructured surfaces have been shown to promote condensation heat transfer, the successful implementation of these coatings relies on the development of scalable manufacturing strategies as well as continued research into the fundamental physical mechanisms of enhancement. This work demonstrates the fabrication and characterization of superhydrophobic coatings using a simple scalable nanofabrication technique based on self-assembly of the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) combined with initiated chemical vapor deposition. TMV biotemplating is compatible with a wide range of surface materials and applicable over large areas and complex geometries without the use of any power or heat. The virus-structured coatings fabricated here are macroscopically superhydrophobic (contact angle >170°) and have been characterized using environmental electron scanning microscopy showing sustained and robust coalescence-induced ejection of condensate droplets. Additionally, full-field dynamic characterization of these surfaces during condensation in the presence of noncondensable gases is reported. This technique uses optical microscopy combined with image processing algorithms to track the wetting and growth dynamics of 100s to 1000s of microscale condensate droplets simultaneously. Using this approach, over 3 million independent measurements of droplet size have been used to characterize global heat transfer performance as a function of nucleation site density, coalescence length, and the apparent wetted surface area during dynamic loading. Additionally, the history and behavior of individual nucleation sites, including coalescence events, has been characterized. This work elucidates the nature of superhydrophobic condensation and its enhancement, including the role of nucleation site density during transient operation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces