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1.  Not spreading in reverse: The dewetting of a liquid film into a single drop 
Science Advances  2016;2(9):e1600183.
Dewetting films are not the time reversal of spreading droplets.
Wetting and dewetting are both fundamental modes of motion of liquids on solid surfaces. They are critically important for processes in biology, chemistry, and engineering, such as drying, coating, and lubrication. However, recent progress in wetting, which has led to new fields such as superhydrophobicity and liquid marbles, has not been matched by dewetting. A significant problem has been the inability to study the model system of a uniform film dewetting from a nonwetting surface to a single macroscopic droplet—a barrier that does not exist for the reverse wetting process of a droplet spreading into a film. We report the dewetting of a dielectrophoresis-induced film into a single equilibrium droplet. The emergent picture of the full dewetting dynamics is of an initial regime, where a liquid rim recedes at constant speed and constant dynamic contact angle, followed by a relatively short exponential relaxation of a spherical cap shape. This sharply contrasts with the reverse wetting process, where a spreading droplet follows a smooth sequence of spherical cap shapes. Complementary numerical simulations and a hydrodynamic model reveal a local dewetting mechanism driven by the equilibrium contact angle, where contact line slip dominates the dewetting dynamics. Our conclusions can be used to understand a wide variety of processes involving liquid dewetting, such as drop rebound, condensation, and evaporation. In overcoming the barrier to studying single film-to-droplet dewetting, our results provide new approaches to fluid manipulation and uses of dewetting, such as inducing films of prescribed initial shapes and slip-controlled liquid retraction.
PMCID: PMC5040479  PMID: 27704042
Dewetting; dielectrowetting; contact-line dynamics; slip
2.  Flexible conformable hydrophobized surfaces for turbulent flow drag reduction 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10267.
In recent years extensive work has been focused onto using superhydrophobic surfaces for drag reduction applications. Superhydrophobic surfaces retain a gas layer, called a plastron, when submerged underwater in the Cassie-Baxter state with water in contact with the tops of surface roughness features. In this state the plastron allows slip to occur across the surface which results in a drag reduction. In this work we report flexible and relatively large area superhydrophobic surfaces produced using two different methods: Large roughness features were created by electrodeposition on copper meshes; Small roughness features were created by embedding carbon nanoparticles (soot) into Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Both samples were made into cylinders with a diameter under 12 mm. To characterize the samples, scanning electron microscope (SEM) images and confocal microscope images were taken. The confocal microscope images were taken with each sample submerged in water to show the extent of the plastron. The hydrophobized electrodeposited copper mesh cylinders showed drag reductions of up to 32% when comparing the superhydrophobic state with a wetted out state. The soot covered cylinders achieved a 30% drag reduction when comparing the superhydrophobic state to a plain cylinder. These results were obtained for turbulent flows with Reynolds numbers 10,000 to 32,500.
PMCID: PMC4432562  PMID: 25975704
3.  A sublimation heat engine 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6390.
Heat engines are based on the physical realization of a thermodynamic cycle, most famously the liquid–vapour Rankine cycle used for steam engines. Here we present a sublimation heat engine, which can convert temperature differences into mechanical work via the Leidenfrost effect. Through controlled experiments, quantified by a hydrodynamic model, we show that levitating dry-ice blocks rotate on hot turbine-like surfaces at a rate controlled by the turbine geometry, temperature difference and solid material properties. The rotational motion of the dry-ice loads is converted into electric power by coupling to a magnetic coil system. We extend our concept to liquid loads, generalizing the realization of the new engine to both sublimation and the instantaneous vapourization of liquids. Our results support the feasibility of low-friction in situ energy harvesting from both liquids and ices. Our concept is potentially relevant in challenging situations such as deep drilling, outer space exploration or micro-mechanical manipulation.
Heat engines are designed to convert thermal energy into mechanical work through a thermodynamic cycle. Here, Wells et al. show a cycle based on a sublimation process, where a disk of dry ice that rotates on a hot surface due to the Leidenfrost effect is coupled to a simple electromagnetic generator.
PMCID: PMC4366496  PMID: 25731669
4.  Wet Adhesion and Adhesive Locomotion of Snails on Anti-Adhesive Non-Wetting Surfaces 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36983.
Creating surfaces capable of resisting liquid-mediated adhesion is extremely difficult due to the strong capillary forces that exist between surfaces. Land snails use this to adhere to and traverse across almost any type of solid surface of any orientation (horizontal, vertical or inverted), texture (smooth, rough or granular) or wetting property (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) via a layer of mucus. However, the wetting properties that enable snails to generate strong temporary attachment and the effectiveness of this adhesive locomotion on modern super-slippy superhydrophobic surfaces are unclear. Here we report that snail adhesion overcomes a wide range of these microscale and nanoscale topographically structured non-stick surfaces. For the one surface which we found to be snail resistant, we show that the effect is correlated with the wetting response of the surface to a weak surfactant. Our results elucidate some critical wetting factors for the design of anti-adhesive and bio-adhesion resistant surfaces.
PMCID: PMC3365046  PMID: 22693563
5.  Capillary origami: superhydrophobic ribbon surfaces and liquid marbles 
In the wetting of a solid by a liquid it is often assumed that the substrate is rigid. However, for an elastic substrate the rigidity depends on the cube of its thickness and so reduces rapidly as the substrate becomes thinner as it approaches becoming a thin sheet. In such circumstances, it has been shown that the capillary forces caused by a contacting droplet of a liquid can shape the solid rather than the solid shaping the liquid. A substrate can be bent and folded as a (pinned) droplet evaporates or even instantaneously and spontaneously wrapped on contact with a droplet. When this effect is used to create three dimensional shapes from initially flat sheets, the effect is called capillary origami or droplet wrapping.
In this work, we consider how the conditions for the spontaneous, capillary induced, folding of a thin ribbon substrate might be altered by a rigid surface structure that, for a rigid substrate, would be expected to create Cassie–Baxter and Wenzel effects. For smooth thin substrates, droplet wrapping can occur for all liquids, including those for which the Young’s law contact angle (defined by the interfacial tensions) is greater than 90° and which would therefore normally be considered relatively hydrophobic. However, consideration of the balance between bending and interfacial energies suggests that the tendency for droplet wrapping can be suppressed for some liquids by providing the flexible solid surface with a rigid topographic structure. In general, it is known that when a liquid interacts with such a structure it can either fully penetrate the structure (the Wenzel case) or it can bridge between the asperities of the structure (the Cassie–Baxter case).
In this report, we show theoretically that droplet wrapping should occur with both types of solid–liquid contact. We also derive a condition for the transition between the Cassie–Baxter and Wenzel type droplet wrapping and relate it to the same transition condition known to apply to superhydrophobic surfaces. The results are given for both droplets being wrapped by thin ribbons and for solid grains encapsulating droplets to form liquid marbles.
PMCID: PMC3148044  PMID: 21977426
capillary origami; Cassie; contact angle; superhydrophobic; Wenzel
6.  ST Quartz Acoustic Wave Sensors with Sectional Guiding Layers 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2008;8(7):4384-4391.
We report the effect of removing a section of guiding layer from the propagation paths of ST-quartz Love wave sensors; this offers the ease of fabrication of a polymer guiding layer whilst retaining the native surface of the quartz which may then be used for the attachment of a sensitizing layer. Data is presented for rigid and viscous loading, which indicates a small reduction in mass sensitivity compared to a Love wave device. Biosensing capabilities of these discontinuous ‘sectional’ guiding layer devices are demonstrated using protein adsorption from solution.
PMCID: PMC3697181
ST-quartz; Love wave; guiding layer; SAW; SH-SAW
7.  SU-8 Guiding Layer for Love Wave Devices 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2007;7(11):2539-2547.
SU-8 is a technologically important photoresist used extensively for the fabrication of microfluidics and MEMS, allowing high aspect ratio structures to be produced. In this work we report the use of SU-8 as a Love wave sensor guiding layer which allows the possibility of integrating a guiding layer with flow cell during fabrication. Devices were fabricated on ST-cut quartz substrates with a single-single finger design such that a surface skimming bulk wave (SSBW) at 97.4 MHz was excited. SU-8 polymer layers were successively built up by spin coating and spectra recorded at each stage; showing a frequency decrease with increasing guiding layer thickness. The insertion loss and frequency dependence as a function of guiding layer thickness was investigated over the first Love wave mode. Mass loading sensitivity of the resultant Love wave devices was investigated by deposition of multiple gold layers. Liquid sensing using these devices was also demonstrated; water-glycerol mixtures were used to demonstrate sensing of density-viscosity and the physical adsorption and removal of protein was also assessed using albumin and fibrinogen as model proteins.
PMCID: PMC3965230
Love wave; SU-8; SU-8 guiding layer; SH-SAW

Results 1-7 (7)