Fischer, G., Bigerelle, M., Kubiak, K.J., Mathia, T.G., Khatir, Z. and Anselme, K. (2014) Wetting of anisotropic sinusoidal surfaces - experimental and numerical study of directional spreading. Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties, 2 (4). 044003. ISSN 2051-672X

Directional wettability, i.e. variation of wetting properties depending on the surface orientation, can be achieved by anisotropic surface texturing. A new high precision process can produce homogeneous sinusoidal surfaces (in particular parallel grooves) at the micro-scale, with a nano-scale residual roughness five orders of magnitude smaller than the texture features. Static wetting experiments have shown that this pattern, even with a very small aspect ratio, can induce a strong variation of contact angle depending on the direction of observation. A comparison with numerical simulations (using Surface Evolver software) shows good agreement and could be used to predict the fluid-solid interaction and droplet behaviour on textured surfaces. Two primary mechanisms of directional spreading of water droplets on textured stainless steel surface have been identified. The first one is the mechanical barrier created by the textured surface peaks, this limits spreading in perpendicular direction to the surface anisotropy. The second one is the capillary action inside the sinusoidal grooves accelerating spreading along the grooves. Spreading has been shown to depend strongly on the history of wetting and internal drop dynamics.

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