Assessing the accuracy of contact angle measurements for sessile drops on liquid-repellent surfaces

Langmuir. 2011 Nov 15;27(22):13582-9. doi: 10.1021/la2031208. Epub 2011 Oct 12.


Gravity-induced sagging can amplify variations in goniometric measurements of the contact angles of sessile drops on super-liquid-repellent surfaces. The very large value of the effective contact angle leads to increased optical noise in the drop profile near the solid-liquid free surface and the progressive failure of simple geometric approximations. We demonstrate a systematic approach to determining the effective contact angle of drops on super-repellent surfaces. We use a perturbation solution of the Bashforth-Adams equation to estimate the contact angles of sessile drops of water, ethylene glycol, and diiodomethane on an omniphobic surface using direct measurements of the maximum drop width and height. The results and analysis can be represented in terms of a dimensionless Bond number that depends on the maximum drop width and the capillary length of the liquid to quantify the extent of gravity-induced sagging. Finally, we illustrate the inherent sensitivity of goniometric contact angle measurement techniques to drop dimensions as the apparent contact angle approaches 180°.