Assessment of Water Droplet Evaporation Mechanisms on Hydrophobic and Superhydrophobic Substrates

Zhenhai Pan, Purdue University
Susmita Dash, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Justin A. Weibel, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Suresh V. Garimella, Birck Nanotechnology Center and Cooling Technologies Research Center, Purdue University

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Evaporation rates are predicted and important transport mechanisms identified for evaporation of water droplets on hydrophobic (contact angle similar to 110 degrees) and superhydrophobic (contact angle similar to 160 degrees) substrates. Analytical models for droplet evaporation in the literature are usually simplified to include only vapor diffusion in the gas domain, and the system is assumed to be isothermal. In the comprehensive model developed in this study, evaporative cooling of the interface is accounted for, and vapor concentration is coupled to local temperature at the interface. Conjugate heat and mass transfer are solved in the solid substrate, liquid droplet, and surrounding gas. Buoyancy-driven convective flows in the droplet and vapor domains are also simulated. The influences of evaporative cooling and convection on the evaporation characteristics are determined quantitatively. The liquid-vapor interface temperature drop induced by evaporative cooling suppresses evaporation, while gas-phase natural convection acts to enhance evaporation. While the effects of these competing transport mechanisms are observed to counterbalance for evaporation on a hydrophobic surface, the stronger influence of evaporative cooling on a superhydrophobic surface accounts for an overprediction of experimental evaporation rates by similar to 20% with vapor diffusion-based models. The local evaporation fluxes along the liquid-vapor interface for both hydrophobic and superhydrophobic substrates are investigated. The highest local evaporation flux occurs at the three-phase contact line region due to proximity to the higher temperature substrate, rather than at the relatively colder droplet top; vapor diffusion-based models predict the opposite. The numerically calculated evaporation rates agree with experimental results to within 2% for superhydrophobic substrates and 3% for hydrophobic substrates. The large deviations between past analytical models and the experimental data are therefore reconciled with the comprehensive model developed here.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology