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      Unique and universal dew-repellency of nanocones

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          Abstract

          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.

          Abstract

          Spontaneous jumping of condensing droplets holds promise for antifogging, but is generally inhibited for microdroplets. Lecointre et al. show that antifogging ability of cone structures at nanoscales is universal over a large range of cone sizes, shapes, apex angles and even truncation.

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          Wettability of porous surfaces

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            Self-Propelled Dropwise Condensate on Superhydrophobic Surfaces

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              Self-cleaning of superhydrophobic surfaces by self-propelled jumping condensate.

              The self-cleaning function of superhydrophobic surfaces is conventionally attributed to the removal of contaminating particles by impacting or rolling water droplets, which implies the action of external forces such as gravity. Here, we demonstrate a unique self-cleaning mechanism whereby the contaminated superhydrophobic surface is exposed to condensing water vapor, and the contaminants are autonomously removed by the self-propelled jumping motion of the resulting liquid condensate, which partially covers or fully encloses the contaminating particles. The jumping motion off the superhydrophobic surface is powered by the surface energy released upon coalescence of the condensed water phase around the contaminants. The jumping-condensate mechanism is shown to spontaneously clean superhydrophobic cicada wings, where the contaminating particles cannot be removed by gravity, wing vibration, or wind flow. Our findings offer insights for the development of self-cleaning materials.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                pierre.lecointre@polytechnique.org
                i.papakonstantinou@ucl.ac.uk
                david.quere@espci.fr
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                8 June 2021
                8 June 2021
                2021
                : 12
                : 3458
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.15736.36, ISNI 0000 0001 1882 0021, Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes, , UMR 7636 du CNRS, ESPCI, PSL Research University, ; Paris, France
                [2 ]GRID grid.508893.f, LadHyX, UMR 7646 du CNRS, École Polytechnique, , Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ; Palaiseau, France
                [3 ]GRID grid.83440.3b, ISNI 0000000121901201, Photonic Innovations Lab, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, , University College London, ; London, UK
                [4 ]GRID grid.508893.f, Laboratoire de Mécanique des Solides, UMR 7649 du CNRS, École Polytechnique, , Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ; Palaiseau, France
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2910-2767
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1087-7020
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2117-4651
                Article
                23708
                10.1038/s41467-021-23708-6
                8187394
                34103500
                5fb95484-614a-4e4a-b525-1c0445fa71a0
                © The Author(s) 2021

                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/.

                History
                : 7 July 2020
                : 16 March 2021
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                © The Author(s) 2021

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                mechanical engineering,mechanical properties
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                mechanical engineering, mechanical properties

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