Aalto University researchers have developed a measurement technique called Scanning Droplet Adhesion Microscopy (SDAM) to understand and characterize the wetting properties of superhydrophobic materials.
This microscope will promote the understanding of how wetting emerges from surface microstructures.
The measuring instrument can also detect microscopic defects of the surface, which could allow coating manufacturers to control the quality of materials. Defects in self-cleaning, anti-icing, anti-fogging, anti-corrosion or anti-biofouling products can impeach the functional integrity of the whole surface.
SDAM is extremely sensitive and 1000 times more precise than the current state-of-the-art wetting characterization methods. It also has the ability to measure minuscule features and inconsistencies of surfaces with microscale resolution.
Existing instruments for measuring droplet adhesion forces only detect forces down to a micronewton level — not sensitive enough for superhydrophobic surfaces.
Wetting maps are a new concept for hydrophobic surface characterization and open a window for investigating structure-property relationships in surface wetting.