Superrepellency is an extreme situation where liquids stay at the tops of rough surfaces, in the so-called Cassie state. Owing to the dramatic reduction of solid/liquid contact, such states lead to many applications, such as antifouling, droplet manipulation, hydrodynamic slip, and self-cleaning. However, superrepellency is often destroyed by impalement transitions triggered by environmental disturbances whereas inverse transitions are not observed without energy input. Here we show through controlled experiments the existence of a “monostable” region in the phase space of surface chemistry and roughness, where transitions from Cassie to (impaled) Wenzel states become spontaneously reversible. We establish the condition for observing monostability, which might guide further design and engineering of robust superrepellent materials.
Yanshen Li, David Quéré, Cunjing Lv, and Quanshui Zheng
Yanshen Li, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1614667114