Force-Based Wetting Characterization of Stochastic Superhydrophobic Coatings at Nanonewton Sensitivity

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Superhydrophobic coatings have extraordinary properties like self-cleaning and staying dry, and have recently appeared on industrial and consumer markets. The stochastic nature of the coating components and coating processes (e.g., spraying, painting) affects the uniformity of the water repellency across the coated substrate. The wetting properties of those coatings are typically quantified on macroscale using contact angle goniometry (CAG). Here, highly sensitive force-based methods, scanning droplet adhesion microscopy (SDAM), and micropipette force sensor (MFS), are used, to quantify the microscale heterogeneity in the wetting properties of stochastic superhydrophobic coatings with irregular surface topography that cannot be investigated by CAG. By mapping the wetting adhesion forces with SDAM and friction forces with MFS, it is demonstrated that even the best coatings on the market are prone to heterogeneities that induce stick–slip motion of droplets. Thus, owing to their high spatial and force resolution, the advantages of these techniques over CAG are demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2105130
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number42
Early online date1 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • contact angle
  • droplet adhesion
  • superhydrophobicity
  • wetting


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