Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Suresh V. Garimella

Second Advisor

Justin A. Weibel

Committee Member 1

Jong Hyun Choi

Committee Member 2

Michael T. Harris


Prediction and active control of the spatial distribution of particulate deposits obtained from sessile droplet evaporation is essential in ink-jet printing, nanostructure assembly, biotechnology, and other applications that require localized deposits. In recent years, sessile droplet evaporation on bio-inspired superhydrophobic surfaces has become an attractive method for depositing materials on a site-specific, localized region, but is less explored compared to evaporative deposition on hydrophilic surfaces. It is therefore of interest to understand particle deposition during droplet evaporation on superhydrophobic surfaces to enable accurate prediction and tunable control of localized deposits on such surfaces. The purpose of the present work is to explore the morphology of particles deposited on superhydrophobic surfaces by the evaporation of sessile water droplets containing suspended latex spheres.

Droplet evaporation experiments are performed on non-wetting, textured surfaces with varying geometric parameters. The temporal evolution of the droplet contact radius and contact angle throughout the evaporation process are tracked by visualizing the transient droplet shape and wetting behavior. The droplets are observed to exhibit a combination of the following modes of evaporation: the constant contact radius mode, the constant contact angle mode, and the mixed mode in which the contact angle and the contact radius change simultaneously. After complete dry-out, the remaining particulate deposits are qualitatively and quantitatively characterized to describe their spatial distribution.

In the first part of the study, the test surfaces are maintained at different temperatures. Experiments are conducted at ambient conditions and at elevated substrate temperatures of approximately 40°C, 50°C, and 60°C. The results show that droplet evaporation on superhydrophobic surfaces, driven by either mass diffusion at ambient conditions or by substrate heating, suppresses deposition of particles at the contact-line during droplet evaporation. This behavior provides an effective means of localizing the deposition of suspended particles.

In the second part of the study, the droplets are allowed to evaporate at ambient conditions on test substrates with significant relative differences in surface morphology. These differing surfaces yield a wide range of surface wettability as a means to control the particulate deposition process. Analysis of the droplet wetting behavior throughout the evaporation process show that the droplet could either remain in the Cassie state (resting on top of the roughness elements) or transition into the Wenzel state (roughness elements flooded). Top- and side-view images of the droplet profile are visualized to confirm the droplet wetting state near the end of evaporation. Experimental observations are compared with a theoretical trend of the Cassie-to-Wenzel transition based on the capillary-Laplace pressure balance at transition between wetting states. The results reveal a relationship between localized deposit size and surface morphology based on this ultimate wetting state. An optimum surface morphology for minimizing the deposit coverage area is identified.