Research Papers

Fabrication and Wettability Analysis of Hydrophobic Stainless Steel Surfaces With Microscale Structures From Nanosecond Laser Machining

[+] Author and Article Information
Cong Cui

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
240 Prince Philip Drive,
St. John's, NL A1B 3X5, Canada
e-mail: cc3461@mun.ca

Xili Duan

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
240 Prince Philip Drive,
St. John's, NL A1B 3X5, Canada
e-mail: xduan@mun.ca

Brandon Collier

Department of Physics and
Physical Oceanography,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
230 Elizabeth Avenue,
St. John's, NL A1B 3X7, Canada
e-mail: bec560@mun.ca

Kristin M. Poduska

Department of Physics and
Physical Oceanography,
Memorial University of Newfoundland,
230 Elizabeth Avenue,
St. John's, NL A1B 3X7, Canada
e-mail: kris@mun.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO-AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received March 14, 2018; final manuscript received May 30, 2018; published online June 22, 2018. Editor: Nicholas Fang.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 6(3), 031006 (Jun 22, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: JMNM-18-1009; doi: 10.1115/1.4040469 History: Received March 14, 2018; Revised May 30, 2018

In this work, nanosecond laser machining is used to fabricate hydrophobic 17-4 PH stainless steel surfaces with microscale and submicron structures. Four surface structures were designed, with microscale channels and pillars (100 μm pitch size) of uniform heights (100 μm) or alternating heights (between 100 μm and 50 μm). During fabrication, the high-power laser beams also created submicron features on top of the microscale ones, leading to hierarchical, multiscale surface structures. Detailed wettability analysis was conducted on the fabricated samples. Measured static contact angles of water on these surfaces are over 130 deg without any coating, compared to ∼70 deg on the original steel surface before laser machining. Slightly lower contact angle hysteresis was also observed on the laser machined surfaces. Overall, these results agree with a simple Cassie–Baxter model for wetting that assumes only fractional surface area contact between the droplet and the surface. This work demonstrates that steel surfaces machined with relatively inexpensive nanosecond laser can achieve excellent hydrophobicity even with simple microstructural designs.

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Fig. 1

Schematics of surface wettability: (a) hydrophilic surface with static contact angle θ < 90 deg, (b) hydrophobic surface with static contact angle θ > 90 deg, and (c) advancing and receding contact angles for a droplet on an inclined surface

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Fig. 2

(a) Young's angle θY on a flat and homogeneous surface, (b) Wenzel state (wetting), and (c) Cassie–Baxter state (nonwetting) with contact angle θCB

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Fig. 3

Illustration of contact area fraction f: (a) channel design and (b) top view of the channel design

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Fig. 4

Four microstructure designs: (a) channel, (b) pillar, (c) varied channel, and (d) varied pillar

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Fig. 5

Fabrication process with three main steps: (a) bulk material cutting and trimming, (b) grinding to get smooth working surfaces, and (c) laser machining to produce microstructures

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Fig. 6

Schematic of the contact angle measurement system

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Fig. 7

Measurement of advancing (a) and receding (b) contact angles

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Fig. 8

Scanning electron microscopy images of the four different surface designs: (a) channel, (b) pillar, (c) varied channel, and (d) varied pillar

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Fig. 9

A side-view SEM image of the varied channel pattern using back-scattered electron detection

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Fig. 10

Irregular microscale and submicron structures appear on the laser-machined pillars and channels

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Fig. 11

Two wetting assumptions for the varied channel design: (a) Assumption 1—half touch: droplet only covers the higher hump but does not touch the lower hump, leading to fvc1=0.25 and (b) Assumption 2—full touch: droplet covers the higher hump and the lower hump, leading to fvc2=0.5

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Fig. 12

Effects of Aculon coating on (a) static contact angles and (b) contact angle hysteresis, of the laser machined surfaces with different microscale structures



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