Immersion condensation on oil-infused heterogeneous surfaces for enhanced heat transfer

Sci Rep. 2013;3:1988. doi: 10.1038/srep01988.


Enhancing condensation heat transfer is important for broad applications from power generation to water harvesting systems. Significant efforts have focused on easy removal of the condensate, yet the other desired properties of low contact angles and high nucleation densities for high heat transfer performance have been typically neglected. In this work, we demonstrate immersion condensation on oil-infused micro and nanostructured surfaces with heterogeneous coatings, where water droplets nucleate immersed within the oil. The combination of surface energy heterogeneity, reduced oil-water interfacial energy, and surface structuring enabled drastically increased nucleation densities while maintaining easy condensate removal and low contact angles. Accordingly, on oil-infused heterogeneous nanostructured copper oxide surfaces, we demonstrated approximately 100% increase in heat transfer coefficient compared to state-of-the-art dropwise condensation surfaces in the presence of non-condensable gases. This work offers a distinct approach utilizing surface chemistry and structuring together with liquid-infusion for enhanced condensation heat transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.