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Unique and universal dew-repellency of nanocones

Lecointre, P; Laney, S; Michalska, M; Li, T; Tanguy, A; Papakonstantinou, I; Quéré, D; (2021) Unique and universal dew-repellency of nanocones. Nature Communications , 12 (1) , Article 3458. 10.1038/s41467-021-23708-6. Green open access

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Surface structuring provides a broad range of water-repellent materials known for their ability to reflect millimetre-sized raindrops. Dispelling water at the considerably reduced scale of fog or dew, however, constitutes a significant challenge, owing to the comparable size of droplets and structures. Nonetheless, a surface comprising nanocones was recently reported to exhibit strong anti-fogging behaviour, unlike pillars of the same size. To elucidate the origin of these differences, we systematically compare families of nanotexture that transition from pillars to sharp cones. Through environmental electron microscopy and modelling, we show that microdroplets condensing on sharp cones adopt a highly non-adhesive state, even at radii as low as 1.5 µm, contrasting with the behaviour on pillars where pinning results in impedance of droplet ejection. We establish the antifogging abilities to be universal over the range of our cone geometries, which speaks to the unique character of the nanocone geometry to repel dew. Truncated cones are finally shown to provide both pinning and a high degree of hydrophobicity, opposing characteristics that lead to a different, yet efficient, mechanism of dew ejection that relies on multiple coalescences.

Type: Article
Title: Unique and universal dew-repellency of nanocones
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23708-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23708-6
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, Mechanical properties
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129396
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