Langmuir, Vol.26, No.22, 17389-17397, 2010
Analytical Modeling and Thermodynamic Analysis of Robust Superhydrophobic Surfaces with Inverse-Trapezoidal Microstructures
A polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer surface with perfectly ordered microstructures having in inverse-trapezoidal cross-sectional profile (simply PDMS trapezoids) showed superhydrophobic and transparent characteristics under visible light as reported in our previous work. The addition of a fluoropolymer (Teflon) coating enhances both features and provides oleophobicity. This paper focuses on the analytical modeling of the fabricated PDMS trapezoids structure and thermodynamic analysis based on the Gibbs free energy analysis. Additionally, the wetting characteristics of the fabricated PDMS trapezoids surface before and alter the application or the Teflon coating are analytically explained. The Gibbs free energy analysis reveals that, due to the Teflon coating, the Cassie-Baxter state becomes energetically more favorable than the Wenzel state and the contact angle difference between the Cassie-Baxter state and the Wenzel state decreases. These two findings support the robustness of the superhydrophobicity of the fabricated Teflon-coated PDMS trapezoids. This is then verified via the impinging test or a water droplet at high speed. The dependencies of the design parameters in the PDMS trapezoids on the hydrophobicity arc also comprehensively studied through a thermodynamic analysis. Geometrical dependency on the hydrophobicity shows that overhang microstructures do not have a significant influence on the hydrophobicity. in contrast, the intrinsic contact angle of the structural material is most important in determining the apparent contact angle. On the other hand, the experimental results showed that the side angles of the overhangs are critical not for the hydrophobic but for the oleophobic property with liquids of a low surface tension. Understanding of design parameters in the PDMS trapezoids surface gives more information for implementation of superhydrophobic surfaces.