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Characterization of Superhydrophobic Surface Coatings

When two or more water droplets coalesce on a superhydrophobic surface, the resulting droplet can jump away from the surface due inertial-capillary energy conversion. The resulting passive shedding of micro scale water droplets has the potential to enhance heat transfer, anti-icing, and self-cleaning properties. To study this process, researchers at the University of Illinois developed an improved imaging technique called focal plane shift imaging (FPSI) to measure three-demensional (3D) droplet trajectories. A high-illumination is supplied by a SOLA Light Engine, specifically chosen for its high-intensity, low power consumption and narrow spectral range (380-680nm) in order to minimize heat generation at the surface due to light absorption. The effects of initial droplet size mismatch and multiple droplet coalescence on the jumping droplet velocity are revealed, showing that multi-droplet jumping has the potential to enhance the droplet departure speed.