Optimum substrate stiffness in coalescence-induced droplet jumping

LF Qiu and S Qian and YF Ni and Q Tong, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 25, 14368-14373 (2023).

DOI: 10.1039/d3cp00835e

When droplets are brought into contact and coalesced on a superhydrophobic surface, the kinetic energy converted from the surface energy enables the merged droplet to jump. Current studies mainly focus on the microstructure of surfaces and the properties of droplets that influence the jumping dynamics. Here, by means of molecular dynamics, we investigate the coalescence-induced jumping of nanodroplets on soft substrates. The optimum stiffness of the substrate is suggested and the mechanism involved is demonstrated through the analysis of the interactions between the droplets and the substrates. The momentum of the droplet is evaluated by integrating the forces from the substrate. The optimum stiffness for jumping velocity is provided by the competition between the impact and the adhesion from the substrate during the process, which are both closely related to the stiffness. The results may inspire fundamental research and applications in a broad scope.

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