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Water droplet transport on fibers is of great importance for achieving high water collection efficiency from fog. Here, we exploit a new droplet sliding mechanism to accelerate the droplet coalescence and collection for highly efficient fog harvesting by coating hydrophilic microfibers with superhydrophobic layers of assembled carbon nanoparticles. We find that during the initial water collection, unlike the pinned droplets having axisymmetric barrel shapes wrapped around uncoated microfibers, the hanging droplets on coated microfibers with non-wrapping clamshell shapes are highly mobile due to their lower contact hysteresis adhesion; these are observed to oscillate, coalesce, and sweep the growing droplets along the horizontally placed microfibers. The driving force for droplet transport is mainly ascribed to the coalescence energy release and fog flow. After introducing small gravity force by tilting coated microfibers with a small angle of 5°, we find that it can effectively drive the oscillating mobile droplets for directional transport by rapidly sweeping the droplets with a much higher frequency. Finally, the water collection rate from fog on uncoated microfibers over a prolonged duration is found to be improved over 2 times after superhydrophobic coating, and it is further enhanced over 5 times after a small tilting angle of 5°.more » « less
We studied the wetting behavior of multiscale self-similar hierarchical wrinkled surfaces. The hierarchical surface was fabricated on poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) substrates by manipulating the sequential strain release and combined plasma/ultraviolet ozone (UVO) treatment. The generated structured surface shows an independently controlled dual-scale roughness with level-1 small-wavelength wrinkles (wavelength of 700–1500 nm and amplitude of 50–500 nm) resting on level-2 large-wavelength wrinkles (wavelength of 15–35 μm and amplitude of 3.5–5 μm), as well as accompanying orthogonal cracks. By tuning the aspect ratio of hierarchical wrinkles, the degree of wetting anisotropy in hierarchical wrinkled surfaces, defined as the contact angle difference between the parallel and perpendicular directions to the wrinkle grooves, is found to change between 3° and 9°. Through both experimental characterization (confocal fluorescence imaging) and theoretical analyses, we showed that the wetting state in the hierarchical wrinkled surface is in the Wenzel wetting state. We found that the measured apparent contact angle is larger than the theoretically predicted Wenzel contact angle, which is found to be attributed to the three-phase contact line pinning effect of both wrinkles and cracks that generates energetic barriers during the contact line motion. This is evidenced by the observed sudden drop of over 20° in the static contact angles along both perpendicular and parallel directions after slight vibration perturbation. Finally, we concluded that the observed small degree of wetting anisotropy in the hierarchical wrinkled surfaces mainly arises from the competition between orthogonal wrinkles and cracks in the contact line pinning.more » « less