Coalescence of a falling droplet with a stationary sessile droplet on a superhydrophobic surface is investigated by a combined experimental and numerical study. In the experiments, the droplet diameter, the impact velocity, and the distance between the impacting droplets were controlled. The evolution of surface shape during the coalescence of two droplets on the superhydrophobic surface is captured using high speed imaging and compared with numerical results. A two-phase volume of fluid (VOF) method is used to determine the dynamics of droplet coalescence, shape evaluation, and contact line movement. The spread length of two coalesced droplets along their original center is also predicted by the model and compared well with the experimental results. The effect of different parameters such as impact velocity, center to center distance, and droplet size on contact time and restitution coefficient are studied and compared to the experimental results. Finally, the wetting and the self-cleaning properties of superhydrophobic surfaces have been investigated. It has been found that impinging water drops with very small amount of kinetic impact energy were able to thoroughly clean these surfaces.
© 2011 American Chemical Society