Droplet attraction and coalescence mechanism on textured oil-impregnated surfaces

Haobo Xu, Yimin Zhou, Dan Daniel, Joshua Herzog, Xiaoguang Wang, Volker Sick, Solomon Adera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Droplets residing on textured oil-impregnated surfaces form a wetting ridge due to the imbalance of interfacial forces at the contact line, leading to a wealth of phenomena not seen on traditional lotus-leaf-inspired non-wetting surfaces. Here, we show that the wetting ridge leads to long-range attraction between millimeter-sized droplets, which coalesce in three distinct stages: droplet attraction, lubricant draining, and droplet merging. Our experiments and model show that the magnitude of the velocity and acceleration at which droplets approach each other horizontally is the same as the vertical oil rise velocity and acceleration in the wetting ridge. Moreover, the droplet coalescence mechanism can be modeled using the classical mass-spring system. The insights gained from this work will inform future fundamental studies on remote droplet interaction on textured oil-impregnated surfaces for optimizing water harvesting and condensation heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4901
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility and the Michigan Center for Materials Characterization for training and staff support. This work was supported by the faculty startup fund received by S.A.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Springer Nature Limited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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