Enrichment Effects Induced by Non-uniform Wettability Surfaces in the Presence of Non-condensable Gas: A Molecular Dynamics Simulation

WL Qiang and Z Lan and BA Du and WZ Ren and W Xu and RF Wen and XH Ma, LANGMUIR, 38, 10192-10201 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.2c01264

For vapor condensation, the control of heterogeneous nucleation and spatial distribution of nuclei are crucial for regulating droplet dynamics and improving condensation efficiency. However, due to the complex characteristics of multi-component, multiphase, and multiscale, the underlying mechanism of mixed vapor condensation remains unclear, especially at the nucleation stage. In this paper, we focus on the enrichment effects of non-uniform wettability surfaces by molecular dynamics simulation, which could intensify the droplet nucleation and growth processes in a water-air mixed system. The results clarify the inhibitory effect of non-condensable gas on droplet nucleation and prove that only 1% of non-condensable gas could reduce one half of the condensation performance from a molecular perspective. Furthermore, non- uniform surfaces are designed to promote the efficient enrichment of vapor molecules on nucleation sites, and the synergistic effect of hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions is proposed. In addition, the non- uniform wettability surfaces are characterized by varying the proportion and dispersion of hydrophilic regions. The results reveal that an optimal proportion of hydrophilic region (R = 5/6) could furnish the non-uniform surface with the best transfer performance. Moreover, the enhancement of condensation performance can also be achieved through the dispersed arrangement of hydrophilic regions. The results provide guidance for the optimized design of functionalized surfaces with enhanced mixed vapor condensation.

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