Structured surfaces for a giant liquid slip

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Aug 8;101(6):064501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.064501. Epub 2008 Aug 5.


We study experimentally how two key geometric parameters (pitch and gas fraction) of textured hydrophobic surfaces affect liquid slip. The two are independently controlled on precisely fabricated microstructures of posts and grates, and the slip length of water on each sample is measured using a rheometer system. The slip length increases linearly with the pitch but dramatically with the gas fraction above 90%, the latter trend being more pronounced on posts than on grates. Once the surfaces are designed for very large slips (>20 microm), however, further increase is not obtained in regular practice because the meniscus loses its stability. By developing near-perfect samples that delay the transition from a dewetted (Cassie) to a wetted (Wenzel) state until near the theoretical limit, we achieve giant slip lengths, as large as 185 microm.